Posted: 3/6/20 at 2:30pm. Column by Ed Jordan.
Today I heard a man talking about surviving a tornado in Tennessee. His family and dogs were going down into the basement, when one dog went back upstairs, so the man went up to bring the dog back down, then the tornado hit. He threw himself down on top of his family to shield them. He later said that bricks came whizzing right through the doggy door!
Then it was over. When they got up, the immediate area was intact, but the rest of the house was gone. The event was so overwhelming that he could barely speak about it. Looking at the video, all I could see was a door and a couple of feet of wall around it. From my perspective, it was an example of how God can preserve someone when all else is blown away.
We began our “Sailing with Jesus” exploration in our church last Sunday. We were looking at Jesus’ disciples rowing all night, trying to get to the other side of Galilee, where Jesus told them to go (see Mark 6:45-52). Rowing hard and not making any progress is frustrating. After they had rowed for eight hours or more, Jesus came to them out in the middle of the sea. He was walking on top of the water, into the winds that were preventing their boat’s progress. When the disciples saw a being walking towards them on the water they panicked, thinking it might be a ghost.
Jesus called out, telling them to not be afraid, because it was him. In Mark 6:51-52 (CSB) we read: “Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.”
There are some miraculous things in this passage. The disciples used all their skill and energy, got blisters, were exhausted, but got nowhere through the storm. Then they saw someone coming to them, gaining on them, in the midst of the storm, covering more distance in minutes than they had in hours. This is an example of moving with the infinite power of God versus moving with the finite power of humans. When Jesus got into the boat with them, the fierce wind stopped. They “were greatly astonished.” Much like the man in Tennessee, the fierce wind was suddenly gone.
The question is: why were they astonished? Was it because they had never experienced such a thing before? Was it because Jesus could override the laws of physics? Was it because the storm that had lasted for hours was instantly gone?
If we read on, we discover, “They were astonished because they had not understood about the loaves.” This makes us go back and reread the account of Jesus feeding more than five thousand people with only five barley rolls and two sardines (Mark 6:33-44). What had the disciples missed in that event? What had they not understood regarding what Jesus did in that miracle? What have I missed?
The main thing we miss is that we fixate on the deed or miracle itself rather than grasping the meaning of the deed in our daily lives. What did it mean that God miraculously protected the man and his family while bricks were flying everywhere and his house fell down around him?
What did it mean that Jesus involved the disciples in all the levels of the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand? He asked them to do the actual organization of the meal, so they had a firsthand perspective of the actual multiplying of the food. Using a little boy’s sack lunch blessed by Jesus, the disciples fed thousands, and they saw it happening up close.
But what did it mean? They missed what it meant. It meant that Jesus cared about the people and provided for them. He cared for the disciples in the storm and came to help them. When you are serving Jesus, he will provide whatever you need so you can do what he asks you to do. As we sail with Jesus, he provides the power to get to the destination.
In another account of this event in John 6:21, (CSB) we read: “Then they were willing to take him on board, and at once the boat was at the shore where they were heading.” Not only did the storm stop and the waves disappear, but the boat was immediately at their destination.
God is active in your life all day, every day. Do you see his activities in your life? Do you understand what they mean? What are you missing?