November 30, 2012

Squinting Into the Storm

Mark 4:35-41

“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
—Mark 4:40


Imagine Jesus’ disciples on the open water, rowing feverishly to keep their boat afloat—no small task when everything is pitching like a rodeo bull. Quite a night!

Mark indicates that this trip was Jesus’ idea in the first place. He’d suggested it; then he had curled up and gone to sleep. Why would Jesus lead his disciples into a crisis like that?

This was no accident. While the disciples were following Jesus in his teaching ministry, Jesus was a step ahead, preparing them for continuing his work later. They could not have imagined Jesus’ death and resurrection and ascension (Mark 15-16; Acts 1), or the coming of his Holy Spirit, who would lead them to bring the gospel across the Roman Empire (Acts 2-28). No, at this point they just wanted to survive the storm and see their families again. Little did they know …

Jesus’ followers had a lot to learn: the kinds of things they could discover only in storms. It’s one thing to tell a group of fishermen about Christ’s power; it’s another to show them. What seemed at first to be just a really bad night was actually an opportunity to experience something about Christ that no one could have explained with mere words.

Jesus led them into a storm so that they could squint and see him like never before.

What has the Lord shown you about himself in stormy times?

Lord, show us what you want us to see, even if we too have to go into a storm. Draw us closer to you today. Amen.

About the author — Ron Vanderwell

Ron Vanderwell recently became the senior pastor of New Life Church in New Lenox, Illinois. He has been a pastor for 22 years, serving as a church planter for the previous 12 years at The Gathering in Sacramento, California, and before that as a pastor in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Ron and his wife, Deb, have three sons: John, Adam, and Jake. Ron shares more of his reflections on “squinting” for God in his blog at

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