At the end of Mark 4, we find Jesus and the disciples traveling across the Sea of Galilee, when suddenly a storm arises that nearly sinks their boat. Naturally, the disciples freak out… but they find Jesus calmly sleeping. Jesus awakens, calms the seas, and then questions the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” At this point, the disciples have seen Jesus perform countless miracles, but at the first sign of danger, they lost faith. I think it’s an accurate depiction of our human tendencies — when faced with a new storm, we can tend to forget everything God has done for us, all the storms He’s walked us through or delivered us from. I’ve seen this pattern many times in my life. We have to purposefully remind ourselves of what God has done and truly put our faith and trust in Him.
What’s interesting about this event is that immediately before it, Jesus tells the Parable of the Mustard Seed, in which He says, “It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” The faith that’s put to the test during the storm, needs to be planted and nurtured, so it grows and becomes that mustard tree.
One of the questions I found myself asking is, “What process do we go through to nurture and develop our faith?” I was reminded of the wise and foolish builders Jesus discusses in Matthew 7. He says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).
We’re able to go through the different storms of life by consistently being in the Word of God, reading or listening to it, and letting it sink in and transform us. It can be intimidating if you haven’t done a reading plan before or haven’t set aside time every day to be with God. (If you’re looking for a plan, see below for details on our Pause plan.) May I encourage you to take it one day at a time and be open to what God speaks to you?