Summary: No matter what you are going through, remember that God is in charge. He knows where you are and he will come to your help.
As I look back at my journey as a Christian, there are many moments where I experienced the good stuffs of the Christian life. It just reminds me of all the good things that are being provided for by the Shepherd as mentioned in Psalms 23... But there are also the bad days, the trials; just like the valleys and the shadows mentioned by the Psalmist. I really did not enjoy those, but they are just there… I don’t know why God has to allow them to be in my life.
Today I would like to speak especially to those among us who has answer the call of God on our lives. Sometimes we walk with the Lord in our life journey and we experienced some trying times and we simply do not understand why they must happen to us.
Since we are familiar with the story as told by Mark, I will go straight into the observations that I made. Here there are three observations concerning the incident that happened that night.
Observation # 1:
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
Jesus told the disciples to go ahead to cross the lake - they simply obeyed. And they were faced with the terrible wind working against them. Did Jesus know that the wind was coming? Why did he send them even though he knew the fearsome wind was coming? I don’t know. Or maybe it is meant to test their faith. Maybe the wind is demonic and the devil wanted to stop them or destroy them. The bible is silent about these. But I think it’s probably both. But the fact remains is- that the disciples were obedient, and yet the trouble came, the wind and the wave came. Have you ever ask why- is it that you are faced with some insurmountable problems when you want to do God’s will? Isn’t it supposed to be smooth sailing when you are walking in the centre of his will? The story just reminds us that it is possible to experience resistance and difficulties while serving God and walking in his will. If you are experiencing that, do not doubt your calling or whether you are in the will of God.
I would like to tell a story of a little boy who watched his mother working at a tapestry. Since he was not very tall he could not see the picture that the mother was making …
All he could see was a mess of colourful threads of various colours: yellow, red, blue, green, gold, grey and black. It did not make sense to him from below. He kept on asking his mother to see the picture but the mother just tell him, “ My son, be patient, I will let you see it when I have finished.” Finally after quite some time when the tapestry was finished, the boy could finally see that it was the face of Jesus.
So it was in our life, there are the happy times, the good and prosperous time, the victories and the successes, as represented by the happy and beautiful colours. But there are also the bad and trying times, sad times, failures and fears that marred our days as symbolised by the dark and gloomy colours in the tapestry. Nonetheless all the colours are needed to complete the picture. So it is, God uses everything in our lives, the good and bad, the bright and the gloomy in order to complete the picture of His Son Jesus in the tapestry of our lives.
Observation # 2:
He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.
What do the disciples do when the terrible wind came, they were straining at the oars with their strength. And wind grew stronger and they use all their might to row harder still. I would like to imagine the Gospel writer Mark putting an additional verse to make the disciples appear in a better light. It will go something like that: “And the wind was too strong for the disciples and so they prayed and cried out to Jesus. Suddenly Jesus appeared and save them.”
No, my Bible didn’t say that. All it says is that the disciples were depending on their strength to solve their problems. Mind you these are no ordinary blokes. These are the future apostles, leaders, and pastors of the early church. What happens then is the same today. When you and I get busier and our datelines draw closer, and ministries become more demanding; what do we do… we strain at the oars with all our strength.
Normally the first thing to suffer is our personal devotion and prayer life. It is not surprising; if it can happen to the disciples it can happen to you and me. But see what happens next.