“In the dark of the midnight have I oft hid my face While the storm howls above me, and there’s no hiding place ‘Mid the crash of the thunder, Precious Lord, hear my cry Keep me safe till the storm passes by”
At the moment, there is a tsunami wave crashing over the whole world; nations are gripped by fear, panic and the threat of death.
Leaders of nations are powerless to bring this Coronavirus crisis under control. Despite the wealth available, and regardless of the scientific resources at their disposal, man is seemingly unable to solve this catastrophe.
Fear, panic and the threat of death is nothing new in the history of man’s experience. One day on the Lake of Galilee a group of men who in the future would be the foundation of the worldwide church, beat their breasts in fear and in panic and thought their end had come.
Let me share three lessons from this incident found in Mark’s Gospel 4:35-41
Jesus Calms the Storm
On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
- The Cry of Fear (verse 38)“. . . do you not care that we are perishing?”
- The Composure of their Friend (verse 39) “Peace. Be still!”
- The Challenge of their Faith (verse 40) “How is it you have no faith?”
The Cry of Fear (verse 38)
One of the most debilitating features in life is FEAR and some of the most quoted phrases in the Bible are “fear not” or “be not afraid”. From our childhood we are confronted with fear – fear of the dark, fear of being left alone, etc.The disciples’ hearts were gripped by fear and the cry that escaped from their lips reflected the panic in their hearts because of the storm. All over the world this deadly virus has gripped people with fear. There is no vaccine to resist it and there is no known cure. People who succumb to this disease are crying out, “will I die?” The fear of death is a weapon in the hands of the devil and he robs people of the peace and joy of feeling safe.
Hebrews 2:14, 15 – “Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.”
The storm on the lake that day was no ordinary storm. The disciples thought they were at the point of being totally swamped and a watery grave was in prospect. May our cry reach the ear of God and wait for His response to the situation we face at this present time.
The Composure of their Friend (verse 39)
Out of the exhaustion of His service Jesus was fast asleep in the stern of the boat. He had set out with the intent of crossing over to the other side and His word should have been sufficient for the disciples, “Let us cross over to the other side”.
When their cry awoke Him, He is unperturbed and composed. He stands up in the boat, despite the effects of the wind and the waves, and with perfect control He says, “Peace be still!” There is no panic, there is no hysteria in Christ. He is perfectly composed. Creation and the power of the sea are under His control.
A quote: “The waves might be over your head but they are under His feet.”
The leaders of the nations across the world need to recognise what Nebuchadnezzar discovered in Daniel Chapter 4:32, “The Most High rules in the Kingdoms of the world . . .”
It may be that God has allowed this virus to sweep across the world so that man may realise that God is still in control of this world.
The Challenge of their Faith (verse 40)
Jesus asks the disciples two questions:
- “Why are you so fearful?”
- “Where is your faith?”
In any crisis questions are raised and require to be answered. Challenges that we face in life are designed by God to strengthen our faith and to enable our faith to grow.If we trust we do not fear. If we fear we do not trust.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him . . .” Romans 15:13
The challenge for us today is to face the question, “how will the church survive without meeting together?” Will we be able to reflect our faith in God during these days of uncertainty and will we give hope to a world that is in despair?
Till the storm passes over, till the thunder sounds no more Till the clouds roll forever from the sky Hold me fast, let me stand in the hollow of Thy hand Keep me safe till the storm passes by.
Songwriters: Thomas Mosie Lister