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Really, Another Storm? Part 1

Really, Another Storm? Part 1
Mark 6:45-51

Today’s devotion comes from a message out of Mark 6:45-51. I taught this message in 2020 and this devotion comes from that message.

Have you ever felt like you’ve had enough? Is there a chance that today you feel that? Have you ever felt like you can’t take one more storm, one more difficulty, one more crisis? But then, right when you think God’s going to give you a break, and when you think you may have earned the right to rest, it seems like he sends you into another storm. If you feel like that now, or you have felt like that in the past, you can relate to where the Disciples are in Mark Chapter 6.

Earlier in Mark Chapter 6, Jesus had sent out the Disciples on their first solo missionary journey (two-by-two). He didn’t allow them to take anything with them. They had to go relying on God’s provision alone, which is stressful. It was a huge deal. The trips were extremely exhausting. We get an idea from Luke in his parallel account of this time period that some of the trials that they would face would be overwhelming.

And then, Matthew lets us know, on top of that, during this same time (maybe just as they got back), that Jesus and the Disciples learned that John the Baptist had been killed by Herod. So, on top of the stress of their first missionary trip, now they have the stress of the grief of the murder of John the Baptist.

In Mark 6:30, the Disciples are returning from this grueling ministry tour, and right at that same time, Matthew says they learn about the death of John the Baptist. And then Mark 6:31 says there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and the Disciples didn’t even have a chance to eat. That’s some seriously overwhelming ministry pressure.

Jesus then says in Mark 6:31 – let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile. So, that obviously sounds great as they need a little rest, relaxation, refreshment, and revival. They get in the boat with Jesus, and they start sailing across the northern end of the Sea of Galilee. The nature there was to sail close to the shore because of the winds that can kick up in the Sea of Galilee. So, they’re sailing along the shore, but the people can see them and are chasing them on foot across the top end of the Sea of Galilee.

When they reach their supposed rest and refreshment area, it says in Mark 6:34 that the people were all waiting there when Jesus stepped out of the boat. And Jesus immediately had compassion on the people. And so, he begins teaching them, which equals more work for the Disciples. And as he taught them through the day, more and more people gathered until at the end of the day, Jesus has his Disciples (who are already exhausted and stretched to the breaking point) feed 5,000 men and their families instead of even getting one minute’s rest.

And so, they’re exhausted. They were exhausted when they got there. On top of the exhaustion, they’re dealing with all kinds of emotions from everything going on, and they’re feeding 5,000 men and their families. And when they’re all done cleaning up from this massive picnic, Mark 6:45-46 says this.

Mark 6:45 (NLT)
45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home.

Mark 6:46 (ESV)
46 And after he 
(Jesus) had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.

These Disciples can handle the Sea of Galilee in a boat. Many of them were seasoned, leathered fishermen. But because they were seasoned fishermen, most likely (almost certainly) they could stand on that shore and sense the coming storm on the horizon. They could look out into their future of that night and sense another storm was coming. Again, they’re physically and emotionally exhausted. And now, Jesus is insisting, forcing, making them get into the boat and head out onto the Sea of Galilee where they can sense it’s going to get worse.

And so, if you’re following Jesus today, there will come a time when you’re standing on the shore and you know that God is sending you into rough waters ahead. And you can sense a storm coming, you can feel it in your bones. And at that moment, you must choose to either obey God or disobey God. And that will always be a defining moment in your life.

And so, the Disciples are in that moment. They’re exhausted, stretched to the breaking point, overwhelmed with the emotions of crisis, and work. They had to make a choice right there – do we step into this boat sensing another storm is coming or do we disobey the Lord? Fortunately, they chose to obey Jesus and they got into the boat and they set out.

Mark 6:47 (NLT)
47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land.

They had almost been certainly blown out into the middle of the lake.

Mark 6:48(a) (NLT)
48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves . . .

So now, after all they’ve just been through, the Disciples are in serious trouble in the middle of a lake that becomes like a washing machine when a storm hits, and the wind blows from all directions. And they’re rowing with everything they have to keep the boat from capsizing. And these are seasoned fishermen. And this word “struggling” in verse 48 means they were being tortured by the wind and the waves. And in addition to that, maybe the thing they were actually struggling with most, is that Jesus had sent them into a man-eating storm instead of giving them the rest they were hoping for. All of this together had to make them think that this was it, that it was over, that this storm was going to take them out.

And maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now. Maybe you’re in the middle of a raging storm in the dark of the night and you’re thinking that you’re just about to slip under the waves. And you’re crying out, “Lord, where are you?” And maybe even, “Lord, why did you send me into this storm? Why did you send me into another storm? How could you send me into another storm?” “And now, Lord, is this your plan that this storm is the one that takes me out?”

Look again at the beginning of Mark 6:48(a). He saw that they were in serious trouble. Jesus saw the Disciples in the storm, the same way that he sees you and me in our storm today. Jesus sees us in the circumstances we are in today. Jesus sees us.

Jesus sees you in the midst of the circumstances you are in today. In the middle of the storms of your life, Jesus sees you. He knows right where you’re at. He has not lost track of you; he has not forgotten you.

Psalm 139 says there is no place you can go that the Spirit of God is not with you.
Romans 8 says there is nothing that can separate you from his love.

Maybe that raises another question for you. Even if you grasp all of that, maybe it raises another question. Maybe you’re saying, “Okay, if Jesus sees me – if he knows I’m in this storm – why in the world hasn’t he saved me? Why hasn’t he stopped it yet? Why hasn’t he fixed it?”

And the answer is this. Maybe Jesus hasn’t stopped the storm because maybe it isn’t time.

Mark 6:48(b) (NLT)
48 … About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water.

Mark 6:48(b) (ESV)
48 . . . And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea . . .

The last watch of the night is from 3 am to 6 am. It was just before dawn. It was the darkest part of the night. You’ve heard this saying, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” That’s literal. In the night, it does seem the darkest right before dawn. And the Disciples were completely exhausted, discouraged, and they wondering if they were going to survive.

But Jesus saw them the entire time, he was watching over them. When the time was right, Jesus showed up in the storm with them.

Jesus met them in their storm, and he experienced their storm with them.
He was walking through their storm with them, even before they knew he was. The Disciples were tormented by the storm, but Jesus was using the storm as pavement for his feet to reach the Disciples.

And Jesus will use your storm as pavement for his feet to reach you. That’s the authority he has over the storm that you might be in right now.

And it wasn’t just to reach the Disciples. He was using the storm to reveal himself to the Disciples in a way that he only could by meeting them in the midst of the storm that they thought was going to kill them. They thought this storm was it, that it was over. But Jesus was using this exact storm to meet them in a way that he could not meet them in any other way. That’s the authority that Jesus has over the storms in our lives.

Jesus wants to use the storm in your life to reach you in a way that he could not otherwise reach you. If he sent you into this storm, it’s for a purpose. And the greatest purpose is for you to meet him there, and to know him better right in the midst of the storm. And he wants you to experience his authority over the storms of your life. He wants you to see him walk on that storm to reach you in the middle of it.

Jesus wants to use this storm in your life for your good, and for his glory. And Jesus wants to meet you in this storm and reveal himself to you in this storm in a way that he could not, under any other conditions. And far too often, in our opinion, Jesus will wait until the last watch of the night; until what seems like the darkest hour to reach out and save you just before you think you’re going to slip under for the last time.

And in doing that he will forever demonstrate his authority over the storms of your life to you. And he’ll do it in a way that you will always remember.

Mark 6:50 (NLT)
50 They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!”

Notice Jesus doesn’t say, “Take courage, I’ll fix everything.” Or “Take courage, this is going to happen.” He doesn’t give them any indication except one thing. I am here. I am with you. Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here. In the midst of the storm, in the fourth watch, in the darkest hour of the night, Jesus steps into the storm with his Disciples and he walks in complete authority on that storm to meet his Disciples, and he says to them Fear not. Take courage. I am here.  

The answer to the storms in our lives is to meet Jesus right in the midst of that storm. Jesus, your Savior, your Lord. And the Lord over that storm. He will step right into that storm with us, and he will walk on that storm using it as pavement for his feet to demonstrate his complete authority over that storm, and to meet us in a way that he could not otherwise.

Mark 6:51(a) (NLT)
51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped . . .

When you allow Jesus to use the storm in your life as pavement for his feet to reach you, and when you determine to bring Jesus into that storm with you, when you are more consumed with meeting Jesus in the midst of that storm than you are consumed with the storm – that’s when he will step into that storm with you, and the wind and the waves of that storm will cease.

Think about that for a minute. Meditate on these verses. Read over them again. Put yourself in that boat. That situation that you may be in right now, put yourself in that boat with the Disciples and talk to Jesus about it. Bring him into your storm right now.

Lord, Jesus, please give us the faith to obey you when you send us into yet another storm. Give us the strength and the faith to know that you’re going to use this storm to meet us in a way that you could not otherwise meet us. Give us the faith to know that you’ll use this storm as pavement for your feet; that you’ll demonstrate your authority over this storm, and we’ll meet you there. Lord, bring us to this place. Give us the faith we need to look for you, to expect you to come walking on the waves of this storm to reach us in the middle of it. May we know you better in it. In your precious and powerful name, Jesus, in the authority of your name, in faith, trusting Lord, that you have authority over the storm and that you will reach us in the storm, we pray in your mighty name. Amen.
Here is the link to this full sermon. Really? Another Storm?
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