Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1
“A goal four minutes from time from Argentina’s left back, Marco Rojo, took Argentina into the second round as they defeated Nigeria 2-1,” Premium Times. So close but so far for Nigeria whose World Cup dreams now lie shattered on Russian soil, while Argentina is celebrating. How often it is in this life that our dreams struggle to emerge into something substantial and long-lasting, rather more often being wiped out by a stronger opponent on the day. It’s not surprising then that we often ask the same question the psalmist did, “Why do you seem so far away in my struggles? It may, therefore, be worth reviewing what is actually going on in our struggles …
- Bigger Picture
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side,” Mark 4:35. Whenever Jesus told his disciples to go over to the other side it was a strong reminder that there was more to their earthly existence than their work, family and social activities. It was an invitation to engage in the missional work of the kingdom of God, to set the captives free, heal the sick and share the Good News with sceptics and unbelievers. The mission of God (Missio Dei) has not changed nor will it ever change – Jesus came to seek and save the lost – his disciples are to make His Mission their primary focus.
- Expect Challenges
Mark goes onto explain, “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped.” Angry storms come from many different sides, sometimes from diminishing resources, sometimes from disgruntled people, sometimes from unavoidable circumstances. The important thing to remember is that Jesus initiated this journey, so that the unexpected challenges that make you feel extremely overwhelmed, may well be a sign that you are in the centre of His Will. There will always be opposition to getting to the other side because it is a decisive move away from maintenance to mission.
- Growing Faith
The other side is definitely not for the faint-hearted as it requires a robust, strong dependent faith which Jesus wants to cultivate in every believer, for the sake of taking new territory. Our struggles in the storms of life become an opportunity for God to grow our faith, which I think is why Jesus takes a snooze in this storm, to engage his disciples in a magnificent faith growing opportunity. The question he put to his disciples in the middle of their struggle is the same one He puts to us today, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Prayer: Father thank you that there is always more going on in this world than what we can see with our eyes. Help us to overcome our struggles in faith, so that your Kingdom advances.