A number of years ago, through a generous gift of a friend, our family took a trip to London to visit our oldest daughter as she was attending a semester abroad for college. Because of some important meetings, I had to send my wife and other two children on ahead and I would follow a few days later. Kristi had traveled much in her college years and had been on several international trips with me, so we all had confidence the trip without me would be fine. So we made all the arrangements and I dropped them off at the airport.
As we were saying our goodbyes, I pulled aside our teenage son and looked him in the eye and said, “Josh, watch out for and protect your mom and sister as you travel. Take care of them as I would.” Josh’s eyes widened and with a somber hug he quietly replied, “I will.” As I drove away I knew I had the confidence that Josh would do anything to care for his mom and sister and that he took this responsibility seriously.
Well, fast forward to when I arrived in London and met up with the family. Josh was especially glad to see me. As we talked and shared stories of their adventures Josh felt so relieved that I was there. All though he knew he was capable of caring for the family, he had greater confidence in me, and was calmed by my presence.
I was reminded of this as I was reading through the Daily Lent Bible Reading Plan (see below) this past week in Mark 4:35-41 (also found in Matthew 8:18-27, Luke 8:22-25). It was a time when Jesus had requested the group head across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus, exhausted from teaching, healing, and dealing with people’s issues, fell asleep in the boat (another reality of Jesus’ humanity, though still fully God), and this happened:
Mark 4:38-39 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
It was obvious that the Disciples’ fear was greater than their confidence in the presence of Jesus. They had no idea that Jesus was the Creator-God as Colossians 1:15-20 says. They did not get the vast power of His abilities as the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) proclaim. Their faith and their confidence was more in the fear of their circumstance than in the presence of The Lord, and Jesus calls them on it.
Mark 4:40 He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Yet, we are not so different. We go through life, and though we may have Jesus with us (in our boat as we have come to faith in Him) we hit troubled waters; lose a job, have a struggle at work, fret over money, fight with our spouse, feel lonely, feel depressed, get in an accident, get bullied, find out it’s cancer, and we wonder why Jesus is asleep and not responding, not rescuing, not fixing the issue, and we let fear take over. That fear can lead us to even distance ourselves from Jesus.
What if we had a greater confidence in the presence of Jesus than in our circumstances? Truly believing Jesus is as the Bible says:
John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
It comes down to knowing Jesus, His power and love, and trusting in Him. Jesus is with us, and though the storm rages, we are to have greater confidence in Jesus than in the storm around us for He can calm any storm. And though the circumstances may not change, He can calm us.
Braving Life’s Storms with you, confident in the presence of Jesus,
Lent Bible Reading for the rest of this week and up to Palm Sunday. As you read think what is this passage teaching you about Jesus and how we should live and love like Jesus…
Wednesday, April 2: Matthew 15:21-31 (Also see Mark 7:24-37)
Thursday, April 3: Matthew 15:32-38 (Also see Mark 8:1-9)
Friday, April 4: Mark 8:22-26
Saturday, April 5: Matthew 16:21-25 (Also see Mark 8:31-37, Luke 9:22-25)
Sunday, April 6: Matthew 17:1-8 (Also see Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36)
Monday, April 7: Matthew 17:14-21 (Also see Mark 9:14-29, Luke 9:37-45)
Tuesday, April 8: Matthew 17:24-27
Wednesday, April 9: Matthew 19:16-30 (Also see Mark 10:17-30, Luke 18:18-30)
Thursday, April 10: Matthew 20:17-19 (Also see Mark 10:32-34, Luke 18:31-33)
Friday, April 11: John 11:1-45 (for more to the story read on John 11:45-57)
Saturday, April 12: John 12:1-11 (Also see Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, Luke 7:37-39)
Sunday, April 13 (Palm Sunday): Matthew 21:1-11 (Also see Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:29-44, John 12:12-19)