Jesus decided to cross the lake in the boat in the evening after a hard day’s work. So “that day when evening came” they left as darkness was falling. (Mark 4:35). This was to be a test of faith for his disciples, teaching them to walk by faith, not by sight.
“A furious squall came up and waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped” (v 37). In the same way storms of all sorts are allowed by God into our lives when everything is tested. Our patience, endurance, strength and life skills are all stretched to the max as we try to keep our lives afloat. But God is good and doesn’t try us beyond what we can bear.
Notice that while the waves were breaking over the boat, seemingly faster than the disciples could bail them out, the boat was not swamped, it was only “nearly swamped”. God was already working to keep them safe, and in the same way, he will never swamp us – just nearly – until we learn from it.
“The disciples woke him (Jesus) and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?'” (v 38). They knew he cared. But when things are tough we always want to pass the stress on to someone else – especially someone who seems relaxed. But this was also their call for help.
When the time is right, when the lesson is about to be learned, when we are nearly swamped, Jesus calls for peace and calm. He then asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (v 40). What about us? Have we grown from the storms in our life? Will we have faith next time we face a storm and are nearly swamped?