When You Feel Confused

Mark 4:37-39, “And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Hush, be still.’ And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They became very much afraid and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?’

I understand. The disciples got confused. They had lost their bearings. It can happen to the best of us. God gives you a clear word of direction (“Let us go over to the other side.”). You begin to move forward in faith. At first, it’s all sunny days without a cloud in the sky. Smooth sailing. Not a care in the world. Life couldn’t be better. Just you, Jesus, and a boat full of close friends. Off in the distance you can clearly see your destination, the opposite shoreline is drawing nearer with each passing moment. Now, it’s only a matter of time and you will be safe at your destination. You feel full of confidence. You have been this route before. You begin to think to yourself, “Wow. This is a lot easier than I thought.”

But then, out of nowhere, the storm hits. The clear light of day has given way to the uncertainty of night. Nothing but darkness and confusion in all directions. The wind has begun to blow. With each moment it’s intensity only increases. And by now your boat has been spun around so many times that you can’t tell if you are coming or going at this point. Then the waves come. Unrelenting. Merciless. They pound against the sides of the boat testing strength. They crash over the sides testing integrity. The boat is filling up faster than you can bale it out. And in your mind you realize that you are just one more wave away from disaster. Suddenly, you feel small, very small. The earlier confidence has vanished, giving way to fear. Now you can’t help but think, “Wow. I never imagined this would be so difficult.”

It’s so easy to lose your bearings in the midst of a storm. You get turned around. Your once clear destination is no longer visible. You feel like you can’t take one more hit. You are certain you are about to go under. Your previous security has been replaced by a struggle just to survive. And for all intents and purposes it looks like God has gone to sleep. The inevitable outcome is that you begin to accuse God. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Storms can do that to you. They have a way of setting us at odds against the only One who can truly help us. We lose our bearings. We begin to question His care. We begin to wonder about His plan. We begin to doubt His love.

And that’s when the miracle takes place. Jesus stands up and does something that I just don’t understand. He rebuked the storm. He spoke to His disciples. I don’t get it. If I had been Jesus, I would have done it the other way. I would have spoken to the storm and rebuked the disciples. “Question me? Question my plan? My love? Accuse me of not caring?” Yeah, no doubt. The rebuke would have been directed at the disciples. But such is the care and compassion of our God. At the moment of crisis He stands up and with a word He is able to totally transform our situation. More importantly, with a single word He is able to transform us. He doesn’t holler. Doesn’t yell. No threats. No belittling words of condemnation. No rebuke. He just speaks. Words of love. Words of life. At the point of our greatest confusion and fear He gives us back our bearings and makes it possible for us to finish the journey. With one word He calms the storm inside of me. Now that is the real miracle.