Are you living through the terror of a storm? Is there a situation that feels completely out of your control? And do you wonder if maybe God is asleep? Have you even wondered, “Does God care about me?”
Sarah Walton joins me to talk about the story in Mark 4 of the disciples fighting for their lives as a storm rages, with Jesus asleep in the boat. Jesus does calm their storm, but not immediately! And the question we’re after is: “Why?”
Sarah Walton is a stay-at-home with four kids under 14 years of age. She’s the co-author of Hope When It Hurts and Together Through the Storms (May 2020) and blogs at Setapart.net. She and her husband, Jeff, recently relocated to Colorado Springs and attend Austin Bluff Evangelical Free Church. After more than a decade of trials and learning to walk with Christ as her family navigates Lyme Disease, special needs, and more, she shares how the gospel gives hope to our suffering. In her free time, she enjoys daydreaming about what she would do if she actually had free time.
I think you’re going to be so encouraged by Sarah’s vulnerability, her faith, and her hope in Jesus—the one who calms our storms.
Guest: Sarah Walton
Bible Passage: Mark 4:35-41
Freebie: Season 1: “The True Stories of Jesus” Bible Readings & Discussion Guide
Music: Cade Popkin Music
Share the Story
Our God clearly loves metaphors. He often has his people experience something physically which is a metaphor for something that is spiritual. For instance, in the Old Testament, we hear about Abraham and Sarah having a baby, which was physically impossible—since Sarah was 89 years old, and had experience a life time of infertility. God was showing that when someone is born into God’s family, it involves a miracle performed by God and no one else.
Later in Exodus, we see God delivering his people from slavery in Egypt, and this is a metaphor for God delivering us from the slavery of our sin.
God gave detailed instructions for the worship practices at the temple which involved people bringing animals to sacrifice. They would put their hand on the animals head, and then slaughter the animal whose blood would atone for their sin and make peace with God. These spotless lambs represented Jesus, who would offer the once-and-for-all atonement for all of our sin.
There are often experiences people had in the Bible which help us understand spiritual realities. They physical story gives us a way to understand and explain something that happens to us spiritually. That’s what is happening when Jesus uses storms as discipleship field trips. He puts the disciples in a boat surrounded by wind and waves—which represent uncertainty and being out-of-control. Yet Jesus demonstrates his ultimate control when all he has to do is speak and the water goes from a terrifying storm to glassy calm. That’s the power he possesses.
Do you know someone who is going through a “storm” in their life? What terrifying, out-of-control situation are they in the middle of? Maybe a battle with cancer or the suicidal depression of a loved one? Maybe they are experiencing a stormy relationship with a spouse or a child. What if you said something like,
“Hey, I know you’re going through a ‘storm’ with this cancer diagnosis. It reminds me of this storm story in the Bible, where Jesus was asleep in the boat. I know it can feel like God doesn’t even care—that’s how the disciples felt about Jesus. But then Jesus calms the waters in an instant, and they get to see that He was in control all along. I just want to encourage you that God is in control of your storm, too. He often takes us on field trips through the storm to teach us things that we’ll never learn on a sunny day.”
LIVE the Story
How can we live like this story is true? Here are several ways:
- Jesus led the disciples into a terrifying storm, and doesn’t tell them it’s coming. Sarah and I talked about how this has been true for us, as well. Living like this story is true means not expecting that a life, following Jesus, will be without storms.
- The boat started filling with water. This wasn’t a hypothetical situation; there was legitimate cause for fear. There was no one to call. When’s the last time you experienced a “boat filling with water” moment?
- There was perhaps an edge of accusation when the disciples ask Jesus—asleep on the cushion, “Do you not even care?” It’s hard to understand when God seems to be “sleeping” when you’re in the middle of a storm. Have you ever wondered if God even cares?
- It’s helpful to consider my options, when I’m in the middle of my storm. If I abandon God, saying, “You’re not listening!” is that going to alleviate my fear? Where is the comfort in being my own God? Living like this story is true means letting the One who can calm the storm decide when He’ll calm the storm. Because, after all, He is God (and I am not).
- be God, even when He’s not responding as I’d like him to.
- Storms press me to ask hard questions about God’s sovereignty, and face the wrong assumptions I’ve made about Him. What lessons has God taught me about Himself in a storm, which I could never have learned on a sunny day?
- Jesus caused the water to go from tumultuous and storm to glassy and still. What would change if I lived like Jesus can—and ultimately will—calm the storms I face?