Daily Dose of Courage – 17 April 2020

Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.

I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.

Friday, April 17th

Reading: Mark 4-6

38 But he 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?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”

Mk 4:38–40 (ESV)

When I read the gospels, I often try to imagine what it must have been like to be one of the twelve disciples, especially early on in their journey with Jesus. They had left everything to follow Him, were on a prolonged ministry tour with other dudes they didn’t know, and their new Teacher was so unpredictable! He was clearly able to perform miracles, and He could teach like nobody before, but He kept using riddles to deliberately confuse His audience and He insisted on moving on every time they were starting to gain traction in any town. It makes me more empathetic to some of their seemingly dumb questions and, at times, faithless actions. We have the privilege of reading back into the narrative knowing fully who Jesus is. They were just trying to figure it out.

Imagine, then, what it was like for them when they experienced a potentially deadly storm, and their small boat began to take on more water than they could get rid of, and their Teacher, the one who they knew had special authority, and the one they gave up their whole loves to follow, was asleep! I am not surprised that they interpreted Jesus’ inactivity as a lack of care. We do this with Jesus even today. In seasons of stress when it seems like He could do something to intervene and yet doesn’t, our hearts are quick to ask … “Don’t you care?”

What happened next would have been something that would have stayed on their Jesus highlight reels for the rest of their lives, even though it would have had stiff competition for film space. Chaos on the sea was widely understood in the Jewish world as a sign of God’s judgment or God’s absence. We see it in the creation account, in the flood and in a lot of other imagery throughout the Old Testament.

But, then Jesus rebukes the wind. He speaks to the sea. And it listens! If a raging sea was a sign of God’s judgment, then Jesus was presenting Himself as one who had the authority of that judgment! If the sinking boat was seen a sign of God’s absence, then Jesus was announcing His presence in way they could never forget!

He shows in this moment a power and a presence that the disciples could not have previously imagined. It is why their fear shifts from fear of death to fear of their Lord. The storm was scary but it bowed and cowered at the command of Christ.

What kind of man is this?

Friends, so much of our fear stems from a place where it feels like God is absent in the midst of chaos. It is as if He is sleeping while the boats begins to fill, and our faithless response of fear is to ask, “Do you not care?” Let us rather remember that we serve one who commands storms and they obey, and let us put our faith firmly in the One who will speak when He is ready for it to stop.

Courage, dear friends.

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