Getting into the swing of a new year can be challenging. For some this will be ‘business as usual,’ but for others it may be a difficult time for various reasons… Perhaps the workload is just getting too much? I remember in a former occupation, often not having lunch until four o’clock, and having some extremely rude and detached from reality bosses to add to the equation. After standing on concrete all day, my feet ached relentlessly even into the night when home. Each day was hard with the thought of having to face that workplace. There were also dark times of distress and despair, but I knew that I was never alone.
There is a story in the life of Jesus and His disciples that always gave me strength. It is found in the New Testament, Mark 4:35-41. On this occasion Jesus went out on the Sea of Galilee in a boat with His disciples and fell asleep. During that moment a sudden and dangerous storm blew up over the lake which was sufficiently terrifying to trouble even the most capable of fishermen. In grave danger of losing the boat and their lives, the disciples woke the still sleeping Jesus, saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Then to everyone’s amazement, Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and the waves to stop. Then the sea became calm. Jesus then said, “Do you still have no faith?” To put this into context, the disciples had already seen Jesus heal lepers, the paralysed, and drive out evil spirits. Yet despite this, they seemed to be in complete panic on the lake.
It could be fair to say that they may not have ever imagined that Jesus, with all the other miracles, could have also had authority over the elements.
But there was good reason for Jesus doing these miracles. He had after all made the claim the Kingdom of God was near. Through the miracles, people could see that His claims were far from groundless; in fact the coming Kingdom of God was now breaking into history through Jesus Himself. We human beings are not alone in the universe after all and God Himself in Jesus had come to declare His intervention in this world and what would follow, to one day finally set up the consummated and all-powerful Kingdom of Christ on earth.
The greatest miracle was the resurrection of Jesus from death on the first Easter Sunday, and His promise that He will return to this earth one day, not as just a man like the first time, but as the Lord, God, and conquering King.
While the disciples in the fishing vessel may not have foreseen it at the time, the full implications of whom Jesus is, today in our age, we can. That same God, who was near the disciples in the boat, is also near us in our lives. In whatever our circumstances, Jesus is there to call out to, whatever crises we may have to deal with.
The account of Jesus calming the storm speaks to every one of us today. There will be the unavoidable occasions where we cannot be in complete control. Whether it is a case of finding it hard to cope with a new job, the illness of a loved one, or an unexpected accident that incapacitates us, there are many occasions where we are face-to-face with a personal frailty that is beyond our capacity to deal with. But He, who is eternal and all sufficient to deal with any crisis, is as close as a prayer away.
The blessing of those who know God is to know His presence in this way in every moment of life. The question then is; can you also know this God who calms every storm? The answer is best left to Jesus Himself. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” 1
Everyman’s Commissioner Ken Matthews,
Leonard E. Buck Everyman’s Centre,
Gaza Ridge Barracks, Bandiana, Victoria, 3694
(07) 6055 2257
(07) 6055 2890 fax
0413 074 818
1 Revelation 3:20