Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tuesday's with Jesus #108

#108 "Who's In Your Boat?"
August 7, 2007
"He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." (Mark 4: 39)
I've determined that God has a sense of humor. Usually I go through things in my life, learn some lessons, have some things revealed to me, and then I write or preach messages based on those experiences. Last week was different. I wrote a message based on Mark, Chapter 4. The account of Jesus calming the storm. No real personal revelation inspired me. Just a message. But wouldn't you know it...in the days following the completion of the message, I was faced with a storm. And the Lord spoke to me the very words that I had penned in my writing...."Donna, who's in your boat?" It's a little unsettling to have your own words brought to your attention. Talk about being told to practice what you preach! Talk about hitting me right where I live.
So I ask you today, "Who's in your boat?" The account in Mark 4: 35-41 is found in three of the four gospels. Mark's account is so vivid, probably because he penned it under the apostle Peter's dictation. Peter had been an eyewitness to the events. Mark takes us to the very scene of the action through the eyes of Peter. We can almost smell the rain. We can almost feel the winds blowing against our skin. We can almost see the water rising and filling the boat. We can almost feel the panic.  
I submit to you that it's a familiar feeling...the panic I mean. It's the same panic we feel when we lose our job. When we grieve the loss of a loved one. When the shut off notices are piling up on the table. When we sit across the desk and hear the doctor say there's not much time left. When our situations have situations and we just don't know what to do or where to turn. We panic when we are faced with storms of hurricane proportions that threaten to drown us. Just like the disciples, we are faced with Katrinas and Ritas and Andrews. Blowing and beating against our boats...taunting us to fear for our very lives....because we forget who's in our boat.
Jesus didn't say, "Let's set out to the other side so that we can die along the way." He knew there would be a storm and He had every intention of making it over to the other side. He knew the end from the beginning and He will never bid you to go, just to kill you along the way!  Storms will come. That's a promise. Jesus said that "in this world you will have trouble." (John 16: 33) The winds will blow, the waves will crash, but Jesus will be with you the whole way until you get to the other side. Even if it appears that He's sleeping!
It's comforting to see that the apostles, God's generals, those chosen men of God, the inner circle of Jesus, the rocks of our faith, thought that Jesus didn't care. How could He sleep? The storm was raging. They scream, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" How many times have you cried, screamed, ranted and raved? Shook your fists at Heaven and cried, "Lord, don't you care? Can't you see what's happening to me?" He seems to be asleep in the stern of the boat. The Son of Man may have been asleep in that boat, but can I assure you that the glorified Jesus, the Son of God, never sleeps or slumbers. He is wide awake and well aware of your storm. And this is His opportunity to show up and show off in your life. Man's extremities are God's opportunities to show His power and glory. And when He shows up, there's nothing like it!
We have so many things to fear in the natural. Wars and rumors of wars. Famine. Death and disease, lost loved ones. Guns and gangs and addictions and bankruptcies. But we have ONE reason not to fear...the presence of Christ in our circumstances. Jesus is in your boat. And when He wakes up and stands at the top of the boat....imagine His strong arm stretched out over the waters, the wind blowing through His hair and hear His booming voice speak, "Be silent! Be muzzled and remain so!" The tense used here indicates that Jesus said it once and only once. One word from Jesus...that's all it takes. One word brings instant obedience to His command. One word that says, "Be healed." "Provide the money." "Bring that child home." "Protect my precious child from harm." One word from His mouth dispatches His angels, on assignment, to do His bidding. You may be in the middle of a raging storm of hurricane proportions today, right now, but when Jesus wakes up...Hallelujah!..He will calm it back...you are safe in the boat with Him.
The Message says that the wind "ran out of breath and the sea became smooth as glass." This is total, perfect peace. The waves aren't still choppy. It's not a shaky, precarious peace that will only last temporarily. This is the kind of peace that can only come from the One with the power to restore order to any situation. Jesus showed that He has authority over the very forces of nature. Don't you think He has power over any crisis situation that His followers may face? We're safe in the boat with Jesus! 
And the same words He spoke to His disciples are the same words He speaks to you, right now..."Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" He calms the storm and now He must calm us. Despite all the answers to prayer that we have seen in the past. Despite the entire testimony of His power given to us in His word. Despite all the other storms we've seen Him calm in our lives....do we still have no faith? If we would have any confidence in God whatsoever, we would know that we have no reason to fear. If God is truly who He says that He is, we would never fear for our lives or our situations ever, ever again!   What does Romans 8: 31 say? "If God is for us, who can be against us?"
Faith will tell you that this Jesus is well able to take you through the terrible storm in your life. Faith in His goodness will allow you to hang tough under the pressure of your situation. Knowing and believing who He is will cause you to know and believe that He is well able to be the Ephesians 3:20 God, who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond anything you could ask or think today. He is well able!! You're safe in the boat with Jesus! Look away from your condition and look to Him. When we look away at our condition, taking our eyes off of Jesus, we sink and begin to drown. Look at your vision, not your condition!
Finally replace your fear of your circumstances with the fear of the Lord. Have reverential fear or awe for Him. Knowing who He truly is allows you to respond to any situation in faith. And it's only in a storm that we truly understand who Jesus is. The same Jesus we read about in Mark 4 has the power to rule over the surging seas of your life. When the waves mount up, He stills them. He alone parts the Red Sea of your situation where the enemy is at your back, and drowning appears the only option if you go forward. He will lead you through those waters like through a desert. He will still your storm to a whisper. The winds will run out of breath!! Even inanimate objects like the wind and the waves obey Him. Shouldn't we?
Why are you so afraid today? You are precious to God. He cares for you so much. He cares for the sparrows, sold for two pennies...don't you think He cares so much more for you? He knows you so intimately that He knows the number of hairs on your head...even the gray ones. And He tells you, today, "Don't be afraid."  Even when that storm is whirling around you and it looks like you're going to perish, you're not! Jesus is in your boat. It may seem like He's sleeping but He knows exactly what's going on. He will speak to your storm and say, "Peace, Be still!" This storm is nothing...no thing...in the presence of your God. Be patient. Don't give up. Hang tough under pressure. Storms don't last forever. They end in the natural. And when they do, everything looks greener, everything smells fresher and everything is more alive for having been through the storm. You'll be stronger, fresher and more ready to face the next storm in your life. Jesus is in your boat. You're safe. And you WILL make it over to the other side.   
As for my storm....I received my answer rather quickly. I think that Jesus wanted to show off. I was able to tell the folks I preach to on Saturdays. I am able to tell you today. He doesn't always answer that quickly. It may be two days, or two weeks or two months or....But He showed me who was in my boat and hopefully He has made you aware that He's in your boat too!
Donna Schultz
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