There’s this interesting story in the Bible where Jesus calms a storm. Here’s what happened:
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on the land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened (Mark 6:45-52).
My pastor was preaching about this passage a few weeks ago, and he shared something I hadn’t noticed before, even though I had read this passage many times.
Sometimes Jesus Calms Us First
Check out the ordering of the things Jesus did. First, Jesus calmed the disciples, telling them to take courage and not be afraid. After that, Jesus calmed the storm, and the wind died down.
This is an interesting idea that has implications for how we live our lives. Sometimes Jesus calms us before he calms the storm.
Calm the Storm First, Please
Most of the time in my life, I think about things the other way around. I pray for God to calm the storm in my life first. I ask for him to fix my situation, or help take a stressful event away. I don’t often think about praying for God to help calm me in the midst of the storm.
Interested in Our Character
But sometimes I think God works the other way around. He cares more about growing our character than changing our circumstances. Maybe he’s interested in calming us first, before changing our circumstances.
Outside Our Control
I think this is an important point, because often we feel anxious about issues and problems that are not inside our control. Maybe we’re frustrated about the actions of another person. Or perhaps we’re feeling anxious about a natural disaster, or when we will die. In situations like these, in which we have limited control, it’s more important to practice acceptance and calm ourselves. The storms in our life may or may not change. But we can always work on ourselves.
What do you think about the order in which Jesus acted? Do you tend to pray more for God to calm you, or calm the storms in your life?