One day Jesus is for us. The next day He disappears. At least this is the way it can seem. I was talking to a friend recently who said, “One hour, I’m confident in Him but only minutes later, I’m overwhelmed by defeat.” And, I don’t believe my friend’s story is unusual…
My mom used to teach women at church quite a bit and she would say, “Your life is like a train of three cars. The Bible is your engine. The middle car your choices. The caboose is your emotions. Now, the caboose will always want to drive, but you must NEVER let it.”
How opposite my mother’s words are from current culture which platforms mantra’s such as, “Follow your heart!” or, “Fall in love!” Society literally screams at us, “Live from your feelings! Emotions rule!” This is largely represented in every New York Times hit or Hollywood blockbuster of the past two decades. Bella swoons to and fro between lost lovers, no anchor in the storm.
This happened to the disciples in Mark 4:35-41. Jesus declares, “Let’s get in the boat and go to the other side.” Midway through the journey a storm comes, Jesus sleeps, and the disciples freak out. Eventually they wake up and ask Him, “Don’t you care that we’re about to die?” He scolds the storm to silence and then turns to the disciples, “Why are you so scared? Where’s your faith?”
Now, what did these men do to demand such a reprimand from Christ? Weren’t they right to be scared of death? The answer lies in Christ’s earlier promise, “Let us go to the other side.” Jesus had already promised a conclusion. Thus, the disciples weren’t simply fearing death, they were questioning the promise of Christ! Furthermore, they had even questioned His loving concern for them.
This story is vital to helping us manage our emotions when Christ seems distant for it teaches that Christ hasn’t changed. In fact, we’re the ones who have changed. The problem is not with His promises but with our faith. There are many things in the Bible Christ promised to the true believer. “My yoke is easy, my burden is light” or, “I go to prepare a place for you that where I am you may be also” or, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me, no one can pluck them from My hand.”
These promises don’t change simply because we’re having a hard day. In fact, Christ is still right beside us in the boat and has promised that we’ll make it to heaven on the other side. And, there’s no storm which He hasn’t allowed. He even allows some storms to strengthen the very faith which is currently absent. Oh, can’t you imagine how the disciples remembered the stormy sea when they were standing before trial and martyrdom? They had experienced the power of Christ against nature itself and surely would ask, “What can any man do to us?” So, let us be wary of questioning Christ’s love for us. Let us be wary of questioning His ability to hush the storm. And, let us never question His promised word. Instead, let us beg for more grace this day and as Paul commends, “Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.”
It is my urging that each night you spend time in prayer before bed. In the good times, praise God for His evident blessing, while also preparing yourself for the hard times. Then, when the hard times come, you’ll rest in holy solace, knowing that there is no shifting shadow in your Savior of yesterday, today, and forever.