Sunday, February 3, 2019

When God Sends Us Into the Teeth of the Storm

by Audrey Frank @AudreyCFrank

Immediately he (Jesus) made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. Mark 6:45, ESV

And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. Mark 6:48, ESV

The scene is pitiful. Evening has come and darkness encompasses the fledgling band of obedient disciples. They have been forced to go ahead of Jesus after an utterly exhausting day, and their efforts to obey are met with resistance and opposition. The One they rely upon is not with them, or so it seems. Even the weather is against them. Shoving and pushing, it stubbornly refuses to allow their little boat to make progress across the choppy water. 

Their goal, the other shore to which they were clearly sent by the Lord, seems impossible to reach.

But Someone is watching them. The very Someone who “made them get into the boat and go before Him to the other side” (verse 45) sees. He sees their struggle, and He knows the forces opposing them. In fact, He is the Lord of the forces holding them back. Jesus sees the painful progress they make in their own strength.

In the fourth watch of the night,  He comes to them in an impossible way.

Walking on the sea, Jesus draws near. In their state of frenzied fright and sheer exhaustion, the disciples cry out in alarm, thinking He is a ghost. They are mere mortals, jumping to mere mortal conclusions, even though they walk with God every day and sit at His feet learning from Him.

But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid. And he got into the boat with them, and the wind calmed” (v.50).

It was evening when the disciples boarded their little vessel, and it was many hours later when Jesus joined them. The Jews had adopted the Roman custom of dividing the night into four watches. The first began at six, the second at nine, the third at twelve, and the fourth at three. Jesus approached the boat during the early pre-dawn hours, meaning the disciples struggled for many hours before help arrived. 

The lake was five miles wide. In John’s account of this night (John 6), he tells us that when Jesus drew near, the disciples were nearly three-fourths of the way across (25 or 30 furlongs, the unit of measurement for distance at the time). A five-mile distance would never have taken that long to navigate in normal conditions.

We may find ourselves in this story.

Some of us have received a clear command from the Lord and are in the boat, hopeful and ready to obey. The distance isn’t that great, after all. Many have done it before and so can we. The book idea we were given in the place of prayer has grown and we have begun to write.

Others have been in the boat awhile and our efforts to obey are met with resistance and opposition. We are straining against the wind, making headway painfully. Our arms tremble and our spirits grow weak as we wonder if we will make it to the place we’ve clearly been sent. We have been writing for months, in the meantime sending out query letters and proposals, but no one seems to want what we are so excited about. Obediently we keep writing, wondering if anyone will ever read our words.
Yet others have persevered through the night watches and gale-force winds. The Lord walked across the surface of our quivering faith, calmed our fears and restored our belief. We feel hopeful again because we have heard the Lord’s familiar, rock-solid, reassuring voice, “Do not be afraid.” 

For each of us, at every stage, know this: we are never really alone. 

Even when Jesus makes us get in the boat of His purposes, He carefully watches over us and helps us accomplish what He asked us to do.This is the divine, mysterious miracle of the story, not a man-God walking on water. The miracle is that He always helps us do what He asks us to do. 

Even as we obey He helps us. We cannot accomplish what He “makes” us do without His help. In our own strength, laboring against the wind, we make painful headway at best. When He gets in the boat with us, the winds of anxiety and fear grow still. We cross over, arrive at our goal, and there He is, in the center of the crowds, healing and helping and teaching them, with us by His side. 

Therein lies the real goal: Jesus at the center of the work, with us by His side. 

You are not alone, and no matter what opposition you may face, He will help you reach your goal.

Lord, you see me exactly where I am today. Draw near to me and help me do what you have asked me to do. Amen.

When God Sends Us Into the Teeth of the Storm - @AudreyCFrank on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Audrey Frank is an author, speaker, and storyteller. The stories she shares are brave and true. They give voice to those whose words are silenced by shame, the hard things in life that don’t make sense, and the losses that leave us wondering if we will survive. Audrey and her family have spent over twenty years living and working among different cultures and world views, and she has found that God’s story of redemption spans every geography (geographical location)  and culture. He is the God of Instead, giving honor instead of shame, gladness instead of mourning, hope instead of despair. Although she has three different degrees in communication and intercultural studies, Audrey’s greatest credential is that she is known and loved by the One who made her.

Her upcoming book, From Shame to Honor, is an outpouring of Audrey’s heart to introduce others to the God of Instead. Shame is not unique to the developing world, the plight of the women behind veils, young girls trafficked across borders; shame is lurking in hearts everywhere. Through powerful stories from women around the world, From Shame to Honor illuminates the power of the Gospel to remove shame, giving honor instead. Look for it through Harvest House Publishers in the fall of 2018.


  1. Loved this Ms. Audrey. There's no place God will send us that He hasn't already gone, or is willing to go before us. Thanks for being the blessing you are ma'am.

  2. Thank you for this inspiring message.