TUESDAY, JUNE 16
“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… And a great windstorm arose,”
Mark 4:35-37 (ESV)
Just before Easter in 2009, Fred Winters, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, was shot and killed during a Sunday morning service by a disturbed young man. The tragedy shocked the church and the pastor’s family, but it did not destroy their faith. The next week the newly-widowed Cindy Winters was interviewed on a national news broadcast. When asked about her husband’s killer she said, “I do not have any hatred or even hard feelings toward him. We have been praying for him. One of the first things that my daughter said to me after this happened was, ‘You know, I hope that he comes to learn to love Jesus through all of this.’ We are not angry at all, and we really firmly believe that he can find hope and forgiveness and peace through this, by coming to know Jesus. And we hope that that happens for him.”
Fred Winters was where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing, and his obedience placed him in harm’s way. Yet, his family demonstrated a peace that passes understanding. In Mark 4 Jesus commanded the disciples to get in the boat and their obedience put them right in the middle of a storm. Daniel Akin writes that “God orchestrates an event in the lives of the disciples to increase their faith in the One they should already trust. Why? Because He is God and ‘with God nothing will be impossible.’” (Luke 1:37)
Abiding in Jesus does not mean we will not experience storms like the rest of the world. In fact, sometimes when we are obeying and abiding it will put us in the middle of the storm. The difference however is that abiding in Jesus means He is abiding in us (now and forever) and so when we are going through the storm, He is there with us (and He is NOT asleep!). Have you been tempted to think Jesus has abandoned you when you’ve gone through storms? What encourages you the most from this story about Jesus and the disciples in the storm?