Ordained Ordeal

images-10Jesus initiated a trip across Lake Galilee that almost ended the lives of his closest followers. After a long day of teaching and individual instruction our Lord turns to his disciples and says, “Let us go across to the other side” (Mark 4:34). This seems like a pretty normal request. He was physically exhausted and a few hours sailing on the calm waters at night would afford him the rest he desperately needed. He departed from the crowds that he had been teaching and was taken into a larger boat “just as he was” (4:35), absolutely spent. However, as we know from the rest of the story, a quiet trip across the lake was not what the Father had in mind. This was going to be a test of faith. Great calamity was about to overtake them (My favorite sermon on the subject of God’s sovereignty and human calamity is by John Piper, available here if you have time to read it). This episode is different that divine discipline (Hebrews 12:7-11). This is a stress test that will expose weaknesses and wrong thinking. If nothing else it proves that chaos and destruction from our perspective never, ever indicates a lack of control from God’s perspective. Sometimes God ordains ordeals.

There’s not a plant or flower below

But makes Thy glories known;

And clouds arise and tempests blow,

By order from Thy throne.

Isaac Watts

3 thoughts on “Ordained Ordeal

  1. I was considering the disciples question: They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” – Mark 4:41, that what Jesus did was another example of Him making it clear who He is in reference to Old Testament Scriptures:

    – For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. They reeled and staggered like drunkards; they were at their wits’ end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind. – Psalm 107:25-31

    – Who is like you, Lord God Almighty? You, Lord, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them. – Psalm 89:8,9

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