Mark 4:37-38 – A fierce windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke Him up and said to Him, “Teacher! Don’t You care that we’re going to die?” (HCSB)
Doug, my grandson’s dog, is afraid of the ocean because the waves seem to sneak up on him. He has been around long enough to know the waves are coming. He has been warned the waves are coming. Yet, he is always surprised when the waves actually come and then fear takes control. The disciples in Mark 4:37-38 found themselves to be much like Doug. They were fishermen on the Sea of Galilee, a body of water renown for sudden flash storms causing giant waves, so they had been around long enough to know storms would come. In learning to navigate the waters, I’m sure they had been warned storms would come. Yet, they were surprised by this particular storm, surprised to the point of being terrified and felt Jesus wasn’t doing anything to rescue them. They were frightened, they had no control of the situation, and things were bad and getting worse. I imagine the frantic running around and shouting of questions such as “Why aren’t You doing something?” “Why don’t You care about me?” “Why are You sleeping while I’m suffering?” Sometimes I feel much like a small boat on turbulent waters. I have been around long enough to know trouble is coming. Jesus warned that trouble was coming (John 16:33). Yet, I am always caught by surprise and frightened when the waves of trouble are pounding. Like the disciples, I can become frantic when everything I do only emphasizes my lack of control. I cry out “Why aren’t You doing something?” as I am pounded by the consequences of someone else’s actions. Drowning in hurt and confusion, I ask “Why don’t You care about me?” In exasperation and anger I demand to know, “Why are You sleeping while I’m suffering?” And Jesus answers me the same way He answered the disciples, “Why are you afraid?” (v.40). Storms are not fun, but the same Jesus who controlled the storm for the disciples, has control of the storms in my life. He spoke and called a stormy sea to calm. I can call my stormy world to calm when I speak the name of Jesus.
Proverbs 16:2 – All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives. (HCSB)
1 Chronicles 16:11- Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. (NIV)
I am sipping my coffee this morning while listening to the wind blow and looking at my new calendar of ocean scenes. I am thinking how I would rather be starting the day listening to the waves instead of to the winds! When we were younger, my husband and I would talk about how someday we would live at the beach; we would search the real estate listings to determine what would fit our “needs” (ocean view being number one, of course); we would take notice of certain neighborhoods and discuss the pros and cons. It was fun to dream. We haven’t done that in awhile. We still love the sound of the waves, love seeing the ocean view, love the atmosphere of a beach town……so what happened to our dream of making all of this our daily lifestyle? What happened to cause the death of our dream? Sometimes dreams die because we “age out” of that particular dream. We mature and realize that it is just not possible to travel between planets or become an ancient warrior or live in outer space. Sometimes our dreams die because we let them starve. Instead of feeding them with action and determination, we allow people’s words of discouragement and negative attitudes to fill us and take away our hunger. Sometimes our dreams die because it was OUR dream but not YOUR dream; our plan but not Your plan. Psalm 94:11 says that You know all of our plans and know they are futile. Jeremiah 29:11 says that You have plans for us, plans that are only good for us. Sometimes I’ve tried to convince You how good my plans are and how You should make them Your plans too, but Proverbs 16:2 tells me that everyone thinks their plans are great! Then verse 3 tells me to commit my plans to You. Lord, You know my dreams and plans. You know my wants and my needs, and You know there is a difference between those two things. Lord, I know that it’s okay to have dreams and that sometimes those dreams come true. Dreaming isn’t wrong as long as our dreams are inline with Your plans. Jim Elliott said “God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.” Lord, help me to seek Your strength in everything I do, to dream my dreams but follow Your plans.