The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
The disciples clearly didn't think Jesus cared in their moment of desperation. Let me set the scene we read in Mark 4:
The boat is being pummeled by ferocious winds, waves whipped up and over the small sides of your vessel. The rain is pelting into your face and body, hitting you with the sting of rubber bullets. You are anxiously bucketing out the water in your boat, but it's a losing battle with the water levels rising to the point where you can see the boat is nearly submerging into this terrible stormy sea.
And there is Jesus, asleep. ASLEEP! In the stern, covered by a blanket and stupidly serene in the middle of this horrendous weather event. Jesus not only doesn't seem to care about you all, but doesn't even seem to care for his own safety.
How can this man be like he is, right now!
This is how I imagine the disciples come to Jesus in Mark 4:35-41. They were a rage of fear and anxiety and terror as the storm pressed in around them.
"Why are you so afraid?"
Is the question Jesus poses after calming the storm with three words of absolute authority and confidence, "Quiet! Be still!". I see here a connection between fear and the care of Jesus for us. Fear can become a raging tempest within when we have little or no confidence Jesus can and will take care of us in the present circumstances of our lives.
This is a problem if fear presses in on us as we pray. I've know plenty of such times in my life! Fear clutters my praying and causes me to cry out very similarly to the disciples here in Mark.
How to overcome fear in prayer?
So you're dealing with an unruly fear in your head and heart. Maybe it's a work concern. A relationship. A decision that overwhelms you. Maybe there doesn't seem a rational basis, but you're in fear, nonetheless. Pray through these three focuses:
Bring Jesus clearly into focus in prayer. Is Jesus overwhelmed with fear and anxiety in the middle of this storm event in Mark 4? Clearly not. Then focus in your prayers first on the serenity of Jesus for you, right now. Jesus is not feeling any of what you're feeling. Jesus is not overwhelmed like you're overwhelmed. Jesus is calm, settled, and has complete peace about your situation. That should start to take the edge of your fear!
Be encouraged to pray boldly from the testimony of scripture. Does Jesus do nothing in response to the cries and desperation of His disciples in Mark 4? Again, clearly not. Then take heart in prayer. Jesus is not indifferent to your plight, to your concerns, and has the same power and authority to assist you and help you and respond to your cries for help. See Jesus responsive, just like He is to His disciples here.
Continue on with expectancy. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He will act in your life. Maybe He'll speak a word of direction or encouragement to your heart; maybe He'll act in your circumstances; maybe He'll do both. But He will respond to your praying!
Jesus didn't start this storm!
But he clearly ended it. This is important for us to note. God is quite happy to be with us in the midst of troubling times and circumstances that He didn't directly start but He has every intent of finishing. Why? Because without opportunity, we will never learn to overcome our own fears. Jesus calls His disciples to faith. And even though they are overwhelmed this time, Jesus built their faith in Him nonetheless. What does this tell you and I?
That the fears that press in around us now have a purpose in Jesus - Jesus can use our most fearful days and seasons to teach us faith in the deepest parts of our hearts if we'll not run from our fears but in desperation rush to Jesus. Especially in prayer!
I'm rushing to Jesus with you this week!!!