That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 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. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the winds and waves obey him!” – Mark 4: 35-41
These legends and stories often feature heroes who would attempt to conquer the raging waters. But these brave souls would always conjure up a god to help them calm the seas.
Mark 4 tells us that Jesus, in the same situation, simply got up and spoke — “Quiet,” to the wind and “Be still,” to the waves.
The point is that Jesus didn’t have to call upon the name of a higher power; He calls on the name of no one, because He is the name above all names. He simply speaks and the elements obey him.
Psalm 89:9 says, You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them.
Psalm 102: 29 says, “You stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Isaiah 43: 2 and 3 say, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
This moment in Mark 4 isn’t just some cute story about sweet little Jesus helping us through the storms of life.
This moment is an epiphany—revealing that Jesus is the same God as the Ancient of Days—and He alone has ultimate dominion over the forces of evil, chaos, and darkness. He alone has the authority to make the seas obey him like a compliant child.
Mark is showing us, in no uncertain terms, that Jesus is spearheading a battle against evil and that He will win. He is also reminding us that even if the storms of life do not cease, even if if feels like we are drowning in our pain, we do not face the storms alone — we have a good and faithful captain, never abandoning us.
This week, as we’re approaching the third Sunday of Lent, I’ve been thinking a lot about Lament- and have joined a community called The Practice Tribe at Willow Creek, in order to learn more about the discipline of Lament. What I find meaningful about Lamenting is this: when we are facing the raging storms, God doesn’t call us to a faith based on platitudes. He doesn’t intend for us to rest in “bright sides” or “silver linings.” We’re allowed to doubt- as the disciples did on that boat. We’re allowed to grieve like Job, mourn like the Psalmists, and weep with the Lamentations.
So this week as you pray, do not hide your anger, bitterness, or heartache from God. Cry out to him on behalf of your pain, on behalf of the pain of others, on behalf of the injustice of the world.
Remind him to win the battle against evil.
And in so doing, remind yourself that one day- although it may be a long way away- He will.