May 8th, 2020
I went for a walk around the neighbourhood yesterday and someone had put a sign out that said, “We are all in the same boat! Pick up your paddle! Do your part!”
I couldn’t get that phrase out of my mind. I came home and kept thinking about it. That’s when it hit me that it’s not true. We are not all in the same boat. We may be facing the same storm, but we are in different boats. This has been a challenging season for everyone, but it has affected people differently. Some have lost loved ones. Others have battled the disease in their own bodies. Some are struggling with depression and anxiety due to isolation. And many parents go to bed every night wondering how they will feed their children in the morning or how they will make ends meet.
I myself have been through an array of emotions. In the past few weeks I’ve felt lonely and cried myself to sleep more times than I could count. I’ve been so desperate when unable to breathe and all I could do was silently cry out to heavens. I’ve had my hope renewed, prayed with joy and adoration, just to have anxious thoughts the next day. The storm brings out all of these feelings.
I thought of every time I sang, “Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters. Wherever You would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander. And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Saviour.”
When I got home, I opened my Bible.
I started reading the story of Jesus and the disciples in the storm found in Mark 4:35-41. The story is well known, recorded in the three synoptic gospels. Jesus calls his disciples to get into the boat and go across to the other side. In the middle of the night they were hit by a windstorm. The disciples were afraid, and when they looked for Jesus he was sleeping on the boat. The disciples woke him up asking, “Rabbi, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus then rebuked the sea and the wind ceased and it was completely calm.
I have read this story so many times, and I missed a small detail that Mark adds. Mark 4:36 says, “And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him.”
Other boats were with him! There were other boats! I wonder what was the reaction of the people in the other boats. Were they terrified? Did they cry out to Jesus? Were they aware that Jesus was sleeping while they were facing the same storm?
Drawing a parallel to what we are going through these past few months, we are all in the same storm but in different boats! Our experiences won't be the same. Some of us will be stretched to the extreme. Others will be challenged to rest as the storm rocks the boat. Some of us will cry in anger when we can't feel Him near. And others still will doubt His goodness and His promises… Whatever our response is we can be sure of one thing: We are not alone in the boat!
Hebrews 4 says that we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet He did not sin. Our saviour has been through every storm of life!
I know there’s a storm outside—it’s rocking my boat too. BUT Jesus is in the boat with you. Look for Him, seek Him, and you will find Him! He promised He would always be with us. He understands our cries of desperation. He was in the boat with the disciples. And He is in the boat with us today.