On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 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?” 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. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” – Mark 4: 35-41
I remember teaching this particular story in Mark a few years ago in our Children’s Ministry. After reading the scripture and talking about these verses, I recall the children responding in shock. Totally baffled by why the disciples, who time and time again witnessed the power of Christ through his love and healing of people, would still react in doubt and fear. Even the children recognized Jesus’ presence in the boat, questioning the disciple’s lack of faith.
It seems so obvious. It’s so easy to recognize where the disciple’s fell short in this situation. I too, reacted that way, thinking out of my “oh so mighty” mindset, “if I were a disciple I would have totally recognized Christ and not been the slightest bit worried.” Sometimes it takes personal experience and individual storms to bring you to the foot of the cross, humbling you and focusing your attention on Christ, and not your own abilities. It’s out of our own fear, doubt, hopelessness, and worry that our reactions are based.
Recently, I have leaned on these verses differently, a bit more realistic, recognizing my personal weakness to trust in Christ, not far from that of the disciples. After my husband Jeff and I completed the adoption process of our son Arie, we couldn’t help but reflect on the flawless process and experience we were blessed with. No hiccups, no setbacks; God poured his blessing on us in a way that was truly amazing.
After riding that wave of excitement and being absolutely amazed of what God had done for us, fear began to creep in. It was nearing the time when we said we would apply for our second adoption. There I was, like the disciples, just leaving the shore where God so obviously revealed himself through his faithfulness to my family. The farther I got away from that experience, the more I grew weary of what was next, anticipation of a storm was weighing on my heart. Could God really do this again? Would he do it again? It was so perfect the first time, why would he make it so easy the second? Questions of doubt filled my mind. The application for the adoption sat on the table. Every day I would pass by it, my nervousness grew.
I have seen so much hurt, brokenness, and sadness in my friends who have experienced a different God-given adoption journey. Their pain became my fear. I doubted God. I was sinning through my lack of trust. Could I have really forgotten all he had just done for my family?
It wasn’t until recently I was in a worship service where God brought me to my knees. It was that moment, Christ stood his ground; shouting in my ear, “Have you still no faith?” As I sang and laid my burden at my Lord’s feet, I surrendered to the lyrics:
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns,
Unending love, Amazing Grace!
I felt God’s presence, I still do, his peace and unending love for my family. That peace, that grace, does not mean there will be no storm, but I’m ready! My chains are gone. I am no longer carrying the burden of my sin. I have been set free. The adoption application is in no longer on the table; it is signed and mailed. Because of God’s grace, love, and peace we are entering into uncharted waters, that only He can control. God’s love for me has no end. He can do it again. He will. In his perfect way. In his perfect timing.