A daily devotion for January 9th
35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." 36Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?"
39He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
41They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!"
1They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. 4For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7He shouted at the top of his voice, "What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that you won't torture me!" 8For Jesus had said to him, "Come out of this man, you evil spirit!"
9Then Jesus asked him, "What is your name?"
"My name is Legion," he replied, "for we are many." 10And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12The demons begged Jesus, "Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them." 13He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolishow much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
Do you still have no faith? (Mark 4:40c)
This is why people become afraid--because they lose faith. Faith is the answer to fear. Faith is always the answer to our fears, regardless of what they are. Jesus put His finger right on it:
Do you still have no faith?
Well, evidently they did not. They had forgotten all the things He said to them in the Sermon on the Mount about the extent of God's care for them:
Are you not much more valuable than flowers and birds? God cares for them; will he not much more care for you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:30). Here Jesus was in the boat with them; their fate would be His fate; and yet they had forgotten this.
How would these men have acted, do you think, if they had faith? Suppose their faith had been strong--their faith in Him and in God's care and love--what would they have done? One thing is certain: they would not have wakened Him; they would have let Him rest. He was tired and needed the rest badly. They would have done so because their faith would have reminded them of two great facts: First, the boat will not sink; it cannot sink when the Master of ocean and earth and sky is in it. Second, the storm will not last forever.
A good friend of mine, a handsome young evangelist from another country, told me about all the troubles he and his wife were going through. He was dejected. She was struggling with severe physical problems, ill health arising from asthma and bronchitis, which constantly kept her down. They had gone through years of struggle with this condition of hers already, and it seemed to pull the bottom out of everything he attempted to do. Here they were planning to go back to their own country, and now she was sick again. He came to me discouraged.
I remember turning to this incident in Mark and reciting this story and saying to him,
Remember, the boat will not sink, and the storm will not last forever. That is having faith--to remember those facts. He thanked me, we prayed together, and he left. I did not see him for a couple of months; then we ran into each other. I said,
How are things going? How is your wife? He said,
Oh, not much better. She's still having terrible struggles. She can't breathe and can't take care of the children or the house, and we have a hard time. But I do remember two things: the boat will not sink, and the storm will not last forever! So I prayed with him again.
After a while I received a note from him. He and his family had gone back to their country, and there they had found the answer. A doctor discovered a minor deficiency in his wife's diet that needed to be remedied. When that was done, the asthma and bronchitis disappeared, and she was in glorious, radiant health, and they were rejoicing together. At the bottom of the page he had written,
The boat will not sink, and the storm will not last forever.
I thank You. Lord, that You are here with me to comfort and strengthen me, to reassure me, and to take me through whatever storms may come. I know You are not here to stop the storms from coming, but to take me through them.
Life Application: How would we respond to our fears if we acted on the basis of faith in God's sovereignty? Today's circumstances allow us to see our lives from His point of view.
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.