WHEN YOUR SHIP IS FULL Andy Hollifield 2-15-18
Mark 4:35-41 And the same day, when the evening was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. (36) And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. (37) And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. (38) And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? (39) And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (40) And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? (41) And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Just seven little verses containing one little story but man alive how much is in them! The thought I wanted to focus on mainly is found in verse 37 and is the last phrase of the verse: “so that it was now full.” I believe we can all probably relate to that and it most likely don’t need a lot of explanation. If you can’t relate to it yet, hang on because at some point in your life you will. You know, we always like to throw around 1 Corinthians 10:13 “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape that ye may be able to bear it.” We especially like the part where it says: “But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able.” We like to say “he won’t put more on us than we can bear.” That’s not exactly what it said. He said “tempted above that ye are able.” He’s not talking about carrying a burden or else he wouldn’t have had Peter to write in 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” The tempted part I believe means exactly that; when we are tempted to give up and quit or tempted to throw aside what we know is pleasing to the Lord and just follow our own will. The part we don’t like so much is where he says that “with the temptation” he will also make a way of escape. He don’t snatch the temptation away, he just provides us a way to escape if we choose so that we can bear it. That means we have to endure the temptation and withstand it and choose the way to escape but we still have to bear it. Do you see the difference? It would be nice if he didn’t put stuff on us to start with but just like a good truck, we will never know how good it is until we can see how it can handle a load. God knows what we can handle but he wants us to see for ourselves. After you see how much of a load you can take, there are a lot of loads that seem a lot lighter and easier to bear. I hope I have managed to make that make sense.
Before you think I have got completely out in left field, we are still talking about your ship being full. Keep in mind that it got full because they were in a great storm of wind and waves. These men were professional fishermen, at least some of them were, so I would imagine it took quite a storm to scare them. Keep something else in mind too; these men were with Christ and were there in that storm as a result of their complete obedience to him. Have you ever been there? You were doing exactly what you knew was pleasing to the Lord, walking as close as you could to him and striving to get closer and all of a sudden, out of nowhere, you are in a storm like you’ve never seen and your ship, that was on a smooth sea, is now tossed with the wind and waves and is full of water and you get scared that you are going under. It is easy to forget who is on board with you when the storm blows up suddenly and you are hanging on for dear life. Then there is often Job’s friends that come by and say, “What have you done? You must have done something or God wouldn’t allow this to come on you.” Sometimes, it is not that you have done anything but just so he can show you how much you can take and just because it is according to his purpose and his will concerning you. He doesn’t have to give us an explaination and usually don’t, at least not at first. I found out at Mission Hospital years ago just what I could take. When you have to lay across your baby to hold him down for a shot with him looking in your eyes like he is wondering why you are not helping him, it doesn’t get much harder than that. That was bad but already having been told that he was showing all the signs of Menengitis made it even worse. I was crying and my baby was crying and I never have forgot how that felt to me. Little did I know that it was all a set up. God was setting us up for a miracle just a few days later that wouldn’t have brought glory to him any other way. Like my preacher buddy Barry Jenkins posted a while back; “A big Miracle always starts with a big problem.” You could even say it starts with a full boat. The big miracle was that the following Tuesday morning, we were sent home and had been told that it must have been an allergic reaction to some medicine he had taken for 10 days and had been off of for two weeks. I don’t buy that! I believe that what happened was somewhere between the clinic at the end of Leicester Highway and Patton Avenue on Saturday and Mission Hospital on Tuesday morning, the great physician came by and touched my baby boy and made him whole. I went from that smooth sea to a full ship then to the great calm like in verse 39. When he said “Peace be still” the wind and waves that filled my ship had to lay down. And by the way; he always cares if you are about to perish. But, if they had of been about to perish, he wouldn’t have been asleep in the back of their boat. He knew what was going to happen but they didn’t.
I want to throw something else out for you to chew on; what do you think happened to the little ships and why do you think it said “there were also with him other little ships?” Why didn’t it say “with them?” My opinion is this: I believe those little ships weren’t as heavy as the big ship and they were probably able to stay on top of the waves. I also think maybe they were there just to see the miracle that Jesus was about to do. Have you ever wondered “Why me?” when the storms hit and filled your ship? Like I said earlier; you were living just where you needed to be when the storm hit. Have you ever thought that maybe the reason it was your ship that got full was because God knew you could hold up in the storm and maybe there were some little ships around, maybe even some you had been praying for, that couldn’t handle that storm like you did, that needed to see the miracle that God was going to perform in your life before their eyes?
Verse 41 tells us that they were amazed because of what they had seen Jesus do. But to see the end of the story you have to go to chapter 5 verse 1. “And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.” Did you catch that? They got where he told them they were going in chapter 4: to the other side. Did you notice who the only ones were that seen the miracle of him calming the wind and sea? It was the ones that had been obedient and took him in the ship, even as he was (I love that phrase), and set out for the other side. They really had a story to tell when they got to the other side! You will miss out on a great blessing if you try to rewrite your story. Just take him, even as he is, and sail with him. Sail with him through the storms and through the good times. Remember this; you can’t really appreciate the peace and great calm until you have been through the great storm. He is that way of escape so you can bear it. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!