Have you ever been blindsided, when something comes out of nowhere and slams its full force into your life? I’m reminded of an old cartoon, Mr. Magoo. Mr Magoo seemed to bounce from calamity to calamity. He was continually blindsided, yet everyone watching could anticipate what was about to happen. You see, being blindsided does not presuppose that one is blind; it refers to the lack of foreknowledge and ability to prepare.
In chapter four of the gospel of Mark, it appears that the disciples are blindsided. Jesus spends His day teaching on the seaside and when finished, he simply states, “Let’s go to the other side.” They jump into the boat and leave. This was not like the storm in chapter six, where Jesus constrained them. This time, the weather must have been pleasant, as they simply left for the other side, for they were fishermen and understood the weather. And, other ships also followed. Mark 4>37 says that there arose a great wind. Out of what was likely a clear sky, a storm develops. Although the disciples are blindsided by this storm, it appears that Jesus is not concerned, as He is sleeping while they are frantically trying to keep the boat afloat. It appears that the situation was quite emotional as their question was, “Jesus, don’t you care whether we die?” They were not happy. It is not pleasant to be blindsided!
Now, let’s review the events. Jesus is teaching that day. His topics included a parable of the planter who sows and then leaves the seed to do its work, not being overly concerned about the growth process of the plant. And then, Jesus teaches about faith the size of a grain of mustard seed. His point was that one’s faith has the ability to grow from a tiny seed to a large, tree-like herb.
After Jesus’ teaching on faith, the disciples should have been expected that the lesson in the “classroom” would be proven in the “laboratory.” However, like we sometimes are, they were blindsided. They were looking at the creation for their cues, not the Creator. Admittedly, this was still early in their time with Christ, but they had already seen several powerful miracles. Yet, they allowed themselves to forget Who was with them. How often does that happen to you and me?
Several key points came to me as I meditated upon this scripture:
- God never blindsides us. If we are listening to Him, He always warns us that a test (teaching moment) is coming. In this instance, He gave the disciples the knowledge necessary to weather the storm. He treats us no differently.
- God is always at peace in the middle of the storm. Jesus was sleeping. He exhibited no worries about the severity or outcome of the trial. He knew they would arrive at their destination. If God is not worried, and He is with me, why should I be worried?
- Jesus intentionally places storms in our life. 1 Corinthians 10:13 is a very interesting word study that we often use incorrectly. Its basic meaning is that there will be times of testing, or proving, that will come into our life, but these are not anything that is extra-ordinary. He is not going to send us a test that we cannot pass. In fact, within the test is a path to walk out of our test that ensures we have the strength to bear the pressures of the test. There is no actual reference to escaping the test in a way we consider escaping (although the KJV used this word).
- When God succeeds in proving His point in the test, it is over. After He showed His power over the elements, there was a great calm and they arrived at the other side of the sea.
- God was very content to allow man to try to come up with a solution. He did not force Himself into the situation, but patiently waited until His help was requested.
- There is no “sliding by” with God. The disciples failed this test. They ignored the Creator, who was in the boat with them and had spoken the end of the trip into them by telling them to go to the other side, and focused on the creation. Just a few chapters later, they are in another storm, but this time, without Jesus present in the boat.
- An improper understanding of Jesus brings terror, but a correct understanding of Him brings peace.
I do not want to be blindsided by the tests of life. I would rather hear the words of Jesus and be prepared so that the test is quickly passed. I want to know so much more of Him, not constantly struggling against learning the same truth that He is trying to reveal to me!
Jesus, help me to not allow myself to be blindsided by not listening to Your warnings. And, if I do not learn from Your Voice, help me to quickly learn in the laboratory of life so that I do not need to repeat the same course.
Mark 4:26-41 (NLT)
26 Jesus also said, “The Kingdom of God is like a farmer who scatters seed on the ground.
27 Night and day, while he’s asleep or awake, the seed sprouts and grows, but he does not understand how it happens.
28 The earth produces the crops on its own. First a leaf blade pushes through, then the heads of wheat are formed, and finally the grain ripens.
29 And as soon as the grain is ready, the farmer comes and harvests it with a sickle, for the harvest time has come.”
30 Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it?
31 It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds,
32 but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.”
33 Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand.
34 In fact, in his public ministry he never taught without using parables; but afterward, when he was alone with his disciples, he explained everything to them.
35 As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”
36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed).
37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm.
40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT)
13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.