Mark 4:40 “And Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?'”
Between May 27 and June 4, 1940, 340,000 Allied troops were evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk (France). They had been stranded there, cut off by the advancing German army, and faced certain capture or death. In response to a speech by the British Prime Minister to the people of England, a flotilla of about 800 boats — many of them fishing boats, merchant boats, and pleasure craft — headed for France and successfully evacuated the troops in just nine days. Winston Churchill described it as “a miracle of deliverance.” It remains unparalleled in scope, daring, and success.
At the end of Mark 4, Jesus heads out onto the Sea of Galilee in the evening. Mark notes that “other boats were with Him”; a small flotilla. In His weariness He lay down and fell asleep, even as a fierce storm arose. He slept on, much to the chagrin of the disciples. How could He possibly sleep through this?
The disciples wakened Jesus and issued a desperate cry for help: “Teacher, don’t you care that we are perishing?” Jesus stood, rebuked the wind and the waves, and the storm subsided. Then He chided His disciples for ever doubting that all would be OK.
I sympathize with the boat-hands.
How often have we faced storms in our lives that threatened to swamp our boats? The reality of what we can see, tends to overshadow everything. Water is pouring in, the sails are flapping wildly … and where is Jesus? Snoozing? The marriage is crumbling, the job is on the line, the kids are breaking our hearts, the news just arrived from the doctor, the church is in upheaval. Storm upon storm.
Yet, this Gospel story pushes the pointed question at each of us. “Why are you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?” I might be angry at such questions from a peer, but when they come from the Son of God, who casts out demons and calms the chaos, I need to pause.
We may feel trapped on the beach, or caught in a storm today. Shall we panic or pray? Shall we be terrified or trust? He knows; He sees; He saves. Trust Him more today.