“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40) Those are two of my favorite questions that Jesus asks in the Gospels. Simple, to the point, not easily misinterpreted. Jesus first statement in verse 35, “Let’s go across to the other side”, sheds a little light on why he asks these two questions. Jesus flat out told his friends that they were going to the other side of the lake, yet a little later a big storm shows up! So big that the water from the waves is splashing into the boat and the fellas are freaking out. They grab the buckets and frantically attempt to get water out of the boat. They’re yelling commands that most of us wouldn’t understand, “Starboard, it’s hitting the panel, watch the hull” – Sea talk. Meanwhile their friend Jesus is asleep in the front of the boat. Now this seems rather odd to me since they are in the middle of a huge storm, but these are the facts. So we’ve got the panic guys dishing out water with buckets, and I don’t know about you, but if it’s me that’s on the working end of the bucket, about every third bucket is going on the guy asleep. Who does he think he is!!! So one of the guys throws down his bucket, wakes up Jesus, grabs him by the robe and says, “There’s a storm out there, we’re drowning, don’t you care!”
I love this next part of the story. Jesus gets up, rubs the sleepy out of his eyes, looks his friend in the face, looks at the other guys, walks to the middle of the boat, holds out his hand and says, “Quiet, be still! And it does! The wind quits blowing, the waves cease and immediately it’s completely calm. Can’t you just picture it? His friends are soaking wet, holding buckets, in absolute awe.
Although Jesus told these guys that they were going to the other side, when chaos hit they didn’t believe. Moments after he told them, essentially, that he was going to take care of them, they were yelling, “DON’T YOU CARE!” In the midst of the storm and the fear they forgot Jesus first words to them, “Let’s go to the other side”, he had already promised that he will take them there. He doesn’t promise that there will be no storms, he promises that they will make it through. But their panic and fear had short-circuited their brains. It blinded them to what they had witnessed in the very recent past. It kept them from remembering the miracles this very Lord who was in the boat with them had already performed. In their fear, they saw only the pain that could quickly follow.
Fear makes us react irrationally at times, it shuts down our brain and it blinds us to the possibilities in the boat, situation, crisis, whatever we have in front of us. How often in our storms and trials do we forget His promise to us? We get caught up in the craziness and stay there. We live in the moment of the storm, and yet He has promised that He will rescue us and take us to the other side.