guest post: he's in the boat

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I have no words right now. They are brewing, of course. They are notes in my phone, scratches in the margins of my calendar, bullet point lists in the various notebooks I have. So recently I asked my friend Chelsea if she had words. We hadn't talked about writing lately, but I was curious if she had any words about trusting Jesus in the midst of uncertainty or longing or pain. And lo and behold! Stirring already in her heart and on the page, she sent me exactly what I'd been hoping for, for my own heart and for this space. I'm so thankful to have this writer and friend in my world and I'm delighted to share her thoughts with you this week.

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As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

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?”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

Mark 4:35-41

Jesus was in the boat. It just didn’t feel like it.

It didn’t look like He was paying attention. He was asleep! Anyone could argue from the looks of it that He wasn’t really concerned.

Yet even in His slumber, there wasn’t a wave that crashed over the bow that He didn’t form. No gust of wind took Him by surprise. Not one drop of rain bounced off the splintered wood without Him knowing. He was in the boat, anticipating the calm, on the very sea he spoke into existence.

And just a little reminder to you Christians who aren’t feeling Him right now: He’s in your boat, too. That circumstance that seems unbearable? He’s there, and nothing is happening that He isn’t aware of.

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Sometimes the reality of that stings (I’ve felt it), knowing that He’s powerful enough to fix it but He’s just. not. doing it—at least not when we want or how we want. Oh, the faith it takes to trust Him when the circumstances tell you otherwise! But isn’t that the essence of faith- hoping against hope?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:1

Let me assure you: He feels the rock of the waves, the salty air hitting His face as it hits yours, the rain pouring from the heavens, because He’s not a God who’s far off (Acts 17:27). He’s in it with us. He doesn’t send us across oceans without the promise of His presence. He doesn’t allow trials that He won’t walk through with us. He’s in the boat. And you know what that means?

It doesn’t matter what comes. Sure, it might not be convenient or comfortable. It might not bring my heart an ounce of happiness, but He’s in it with me. He’s in it for me. I have to trust that He is working it all for good, because God is in control, even when it feels like He’s taking a nap.

GOD is in control.

God is IN CONTROL.

He said to his disciples [and to you and to me], “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

When my circumstances start distracting me, I have to look back and remember. I have to remember who He was to me, and who He promises to be to me. What have you seen Him do so far? Have you not seen Him part your Red Seas, defeat your Goliaths, bring you out of slavery, move your mountains, rescue you from lions? Did He not raise you from the dead? And you still have no faith?

I don’t think Jesus asked that question in a condescending way. It’s Jesus, after all. His heart is always one of compassion and mercy, but don’t get me wrong—He’s a straight shooter. He gets right to the heart of it, because He wants to provide ultimate deliverance and healing.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Hebrews 4:12

Sometimes we are looking for a short-term solution, but He’s not in it for short-term results. He’s in it for the long haul. He will literally stir up storms to get us trusting Him more and more. He will ask the hard questions, not because He’s after information, but our formation. He already knows the answers, but He shapes us by pressing in places we’d rather protect. He lights up the darkness; He exposes the lies we're believing. He speaks truth with love—truth that sometimes hurts, but always heals.

So, settle down. Sink in. Let Jesus press into you, as He’s pressing into me.

He’s in it with us. He’s in it for us.

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Today might be a good day to reflect on these questions in your own life:

Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? Do you not know who I [God] am?

Yes, Lord, I know who You are. You are the Creator of the wind and the waves. You are the author of my story. In you all things hold together, and when it seems like nothing is holding together, help me hold onto you still. You’re in the boat. You haven’t left me. You haven’t given up on me. You’re still on your throne. Rid me of my fear. Give me eyes of faith that see above circumstances—to You. I know that with You, I can scale any wall. With you, no storm will overcome. Thank you for being in my boat, for being in the middle of my mess, for quieting all the circumstances that seem so loud. As the wind roars and the waves crash, I praise You. Not because everything is perfect, but because you are worthy of it. And because You are the One who will not be moved—my Anchor. You are good.

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You can read more from Chelsea at her blog, Just Sayin'!