Several of the Lord’s disciples were experienced fishermen, but when we see their reaction to the “great storm” (Mark 4:37, KJV) that overtook them on Lake Galilee, one word comes to mind: panic.
The disciples’ anxious response is seen most clearly in their words to Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
The storm was unexpected. If they had seen it coming, they would not have set off that evening. When it happened, they were terrified. But they had forgotten what the Lord had told them before they even got into the boat – that they were going “to the other side” (Mark 4:35).
If at that stage the disciples had possessed eyes to see who Jesus is and faith to believe His words, they would have remembered that the Lord had already declared they would reach the other side, storm or no storm.
Around the time Barnabas Aid (then known as Barnabas Fund) was founded 30 years ago, many believed that the world was entering an epoch of sustained peace and tranquillity. The Soviet Union had fallen, and the Cold War had ended. All the world would now be committed to democracy, prosperity and human rights. One political theorist called it “The End of History”.
Yet the subsequent 30 years is enough to prove that history has not ended. Many storms have erupted – armed conflicts and terrorism, a global pandemic, a worsening food crisis, natural disasters in increasing intensity and regularity. As disciples we might well cry to our Lord Jesus Christ: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Christ, however, has already said that we will reach the other side, and that those who are His followers will inherit the Kingdom prepared for them from the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34). As the hymn writer says of Christ’s Church:
’Mid toil and tribulation, and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation of peace forevermore.
Till with the vision glorious, her longing eyes are blest;
and the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.
Furthermore, not only should we trust in Christ and refuse to panic, but while we are on our journey through life we must also have active compassion for those who are suffering from the uncertainties of this world, especially our Christian brothers and sisters (Galatians 6:10).
Remember that the promise of reaching the other side is for those believers who serve the suffering and persecuted fellow believers, for the Lord says:
Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. […] Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. (Matthew 25:34-6, 40)