In the Bible, we find the story of Jesus calming a storm (Matthew 8:18, Mark 4:35, Luke 8:22)
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” – Mark 4:35
In a recent prayer meeting with some friends, the Holy Spirit placed the words “on the other side” on my friend’s heart. Also, another friend had been contemplating the very same words based on a different life viewpoint that had something to do with swimming. But what did it all mean?
In the very first line of this Bible text, we find the implication of time and an instruction - when evening came (the time), he said (the instruction). We see that an instruction came from Jesus as it so often does to us within the various circumstances of our lives. Instructions relating to a mission or a purpose, in view of a demonstration that the Lord plans to carry out himself once we get to the other side.
Based on this text, there is only one thing we require should we choose to journey with the Lord into the impossible and that is - faith. A higher level of faith will be required of us as we venture into the unknown. Once we have left the shores of comfort and are yet to see land. Often without prior knowledge of the intended destination. As we venture into the dark abysses of life, places we have not been before, unchartered territories like the loss of a job after a baby is born, the loss of a loved one, a terminal disease, depression, loneliness and the many other such deep waters of life.
I say a deeper faith will be required of us because while the disciples were rebuked for having no faith or little faith during this deadly storm (Mathew 8:26), when they got back to other end (the-home-end), the familiar side, the comfort side, Jesus commends the faith of some men simply because they brought him a paralyzed man lying on a mat (Mathew 9:2). I can almost see the look on the disciples faces, as if to say- really? We too have this faith. See, the disciples would have brought many to Jesus that needed prayer.
I find myself reminded of the verse from Luke12:48 that reads, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” The disciples had Jesus with them, they had sat under his teaching and had seen him do countless miracles. I submit to you, that if you have been a believer for a while, much has already been given to you. And as such expect that your faith too will be tested as you grow to maturity and as you venture through life’s countless trips to the other side with Jesus.
In the one instance, true faith would have been demonstrated through the act of keeping still – keeping at rest during the peak of destruction and disaster knowing that the Lord was with them and yet in another instance we see that that same faith is demonstrable through the act of doing, that is, acting towards something to achieve a result.
In the realities of life, how does one achieve such a faith? - The still faith, the quiet trust in the Lord as the storms rage and all seems to be going amiss. How does one say, Lord I cannot see you and I cannot hear you, for as it may appear, you are asleep in the stern but yet still I trust you Lord and I know that you are with me. How do we not cry out – “Lord, do you not care that we perish?” But instead encourage ourselves with the words of Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.”
As I read this text, here are the revelations that came to light, revelations that could help us attain such a faith wherein keeping still in itself is the only action that we should take:
The boat was a vessel useful to carry Jesus and the disciples from one end to another. See this revelation with me – Jesus is in the vessel. The storm is hitting against the vessel. Jesus is at rest. Jesus calms the storm. Not much is written about the disciples on the other side. We too just like the boat are only vessels. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Or do you not realize about yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you?” Let us rise to the realisation that sometimes the storms that come against us in life are not about us, they seek this treasure that we carry in earthen vessels, they seek to shipwreck us on our journey to spread the testimony of the Kingdom of God in the regions of the Gadarenes and beyond.
Therefore, to master this faith, this stillness, is to recognise that the master within is at rest. It is to humble ourselves in a deep knowing that he who knows all is with us, and then just as he did, when the fierce waves rage we too can speak to our troubles and say – “Quiet, Be Still!”
As we walk with the Lord, occasionally, he will present us with this timely instruction – Let us go to the other side.
The challenges that come with new seasons of change will test our faith and require perseverance. As we venture out, through practice, and as taking an example of those who have already come before us, let us allow perseverance to finish its work in the trials of life James 1:4 says “then we will be complete, mature and not lacking anything.” I believe that it is here, on the other side, that ministries are birthed, promotions are received, Blessings are poured out and the Kingdom of God rumbles on for the Glory of God.
Mark 5:18-20 reads, “As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed”
I find that this entire experience was Jesus’s way of saying to the disciples and to us – watch and learn, this is how you handle the storms of life. Because once you get to the other side, you will be able to do things that no one has done before. You will be able to demonstrate the kingdom of God that will make men testify and follow the Lord. All you need is faith for the middle - faith in God!