Evangelistic Outreach Ministries

Traveling Through Troubled Waters,
By Dr. Calvin Evans

"...Let us pass over to the other side" (Mark 4:35)

Many places in the Bible, life is likened unto a voyage. Nowhere is this more evident than it is in the four Gospels. Each of the Gospel writers wrote about voyages they made with Jesus across the Sea of Galilee in which many of life's lessons were learned. One such voyage is recorded in Mark 4.35-41.

The Sudden Storm

I have sailed several times on the Sea of Galilee and boat captains continue to make daily crossings. They say the storms are unpredictable and often without any apparent warning. The sky may be fair and within minutes, the sea can be raging with a terrible storm. So it is on the voyage of life. The storms are usually sudden and unexpected.

Our society seems ready to explode! Road rage is a good example of our frayed nerves, our impatience, and intolerance of others. We're all trying to get there first, wherever it is we are going.

Paul Harvey told of an older lady who was driving a Mercedes Benz. She drove into a crowded parking lot and waited for a place to park. She saw another lady coming from a store with packages, so she waited patiently to get her spot. She waited for her to open the trunk, store the packages, open the door, start the engine, fasten the seat belt. She continued to wait for the other lady to back up. She was just about to take the spot, when a young man in a Corvette zipped in ahead of her. He jumped out of the car and started walking toward the store. The lady opened her window and yelled, "Hey, you can't do that! That's my spot." The young man flippantly replied, "Sorry lady. That is how it is when you are young and fast." He continued toward the store. About that time he heard a crash, turned around and saw she had crashed her Mercedes Benz right into the back of his brand new Corvette. He said, "You can't do that! That's my car." She replied, "Sorry Sonny. That's how it is when you're old and rich!" Some storms are of our own making, others cannot be avoided, but they are usually sudden.

First, the disciples faced the contrary wind. Verse 37 states, "There arose a great storm of wind."

  • A contrary wind will get you off course.
  • A contrary wind will take you in the wrong direction.
  • A contrary wind will take you where you do not want to go.
  • A contrary wind will keep you from reaching your desired destination.
  • A contrary wind means you are in for some rough sailing.

Next, the disciples faced the covering waves. As the storm got stronger, the white caps began to appear and the waves began to grow. Matthew 8:24 states, "There arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with waves." Now they are off course and in danger of being swallowed by the sea.

The Similar Ships

Mark 4:36 tell us, "...There were also with him other little ships." They were caught in the same storm. Sometimes we are so overwhelmed by our own storms, we forget others whose may be even greater.

Dr. Richard Lee tells about when he was teaching his daughter the sixty-six books of the Bible. She was going through the Old Testament books, repeating them from memory. She said, "Isaiah, Jeremiah, Limitations..." "Whoa," Said Dr. Lee, "Back up and say them again. Finally, he explained to her it was not "Limitations, but Lamentations." She had a good point! The disciples seemed to be living in the book of "Limitations."

No one is exempt from storms. If you have never faced one, you may be certain one is on the way.

The Scared Sailors

Three things happened to the disciples:

  1. Their boat was filled with water.
  2. Their minds were filled with frustration.
  3. Their hearts were filled with fear.

Fear paralyzed them into helplessness. The harder they tried to bail out the boat, the deeper it sank. They faced a losing battle. Nothing short of a miracle could save them. How defenseless we are when we face the angry waves on our voyage of life. David lamented, "...All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me" (Psalms 42:7).

As they helplessly watched, the boat filled with water, their minds filled with frustration. What can they do? When will the storm end? Are they going to die? Will they ever see their families again?

As their minds filled with frustration and desperation, their hearts filled with fear. We need to learn what the disciples learned that day, fear and faith cannot coexist in the same heart. If Jesus is in the ship with us, we are going to make it!

The Sleeping Saviour - His Humanity

Nowhere in the Scriptures are both the humanity and the deity of Christ made more manifest. The fury of the raging storm is upon them and Jesus is asleep in the boat. Verse 36 really stands out, "...They took him even as he was."

They took Jesus as a passenger, but not as the pilot. They took him as a human, but not the helmsman. They took him as a carpenter, but not as the captain. They had Jesus on board, but in a misplaced capacity. They not only had a seaman on board, but a sovereign. They were looking at the storm instead of looking to the sovereign. They were looking at the problem instead of looking to the pilot.

I have never witnessed such a restlessness among preachers. They accept a call to pastor a church and when the first storm comes, they suddenly feel led to leave. It seems they cannot tolerate troubled waters.

Dr. Bob Gray told about a young pastor who sought his counsel. He said, "Dr. Gray, I've pastored five different churches in six years. Every time something controversial comes up (that's a storm), it upsets me terribly. How do I deal with this problem?" Dr. Gray said, "From what you have told me about your record, I would suggest you invest in a good trailer hitch. It seems to me you are going to be on the road most of the time." Someone said, "If it wasn't for preachers, U-Haul would go out of business."

If you plan to do anything for God, you cannot escape some storms, but Praise His Name, the Sovereign will go with you!

The Speaking Saviour - His Deity

Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith before He rebuked the storm.

  1. "Why are ye fearful?"
  2. "How is it that ye have no faith?"

Thank God, the Sleeping Saviour (the Christ of Humanity) became the Speaking Saviour (the Christ of Deity).

The Sleeping Saviour was asleep in the boat, but the Speaking Saviour said, "Peace, be still," and hushed the sea to sleep.

The Sleeping Saviour sat down on the well curb at Sychar to rest, but the Speaking Saviour said to the woman, "...The water I shall give shall be ... a well of water springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14).

The Sleeping Saviour wept at the grave of Lazarus, but the Speaking Saviour said, "Lazarus come forth" (John 11:43).

Before the morning stars sang together, Jesus stepped out on the platform of eternity with the Father's blueprint in His hand, and spoke the worlds into existence.

While here on earth, He spoke to a fig tree and it dropped its robe of green and withered in death.

  • He spoke to a blind man and he saw.
  • He spoke to a deaf man and he heard.
  • He spoke to a dumb man and he talked.
  • He spoke to a sick man and he was healed.
  • He spoke to a leper and he was cleansed.
  • He spoke to a devil and he departed.
  • He spoke to a dead man and he lived.

On March 21, 1953, he spoke to me and changed my life forever. Has he spoke to you? Thank God for the Speaking Saviour.

The Safe Shore

While studying about the storms of the New Testament, I noticed that Jesus did not always still the storm. He did, however, always make a safe landing to the other shore.

Recently, I read a true story that blessed my heart. It happened during World War II. Finnish troops recaptured a town from the Russian army. Seven Russian prisoners were sentenced to be shot at dawn on Monday. On Sunday the atmosphere was tempestuous. The Finnish soldiers taunted the Russians, while they swore repeatedly and beat the walls with their bloodied fists. Then something happened late that night. One of the Russians who had not been involved with the others, named Koshkinen, began to sing. All the prisoners turned and looked at him as he sang:

"Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on his gentle breast / There by His love o'er shadowed, sweetly my soul shall rest / Hark, 'tis the voice of angels, borne in a song to me / Over the fields of Glory, over the jasper sea."

One of the prisoners yelled, "Where did you get that song, you fool. Are you trying to make us religious?" Koshkinen replied, "I got it from the Salvation Army. I heard it three weeks ago. I too laughed at first, but it finally got to me. As I lay awake one night, I felt that I had to find the Saviour and hide in Him. Then

I prayed, like the thief on the cross, that Christ would forgive me and cleanse my sinful soul, and make me ready to stand before Him, whom I should soon meet. Verses from the Bible and old hymns came to my mind. They brought a message of pardon from the crucified Saviour. I thanked him. Since then this hymn has been sounding inside me. In a few hours I shall be with the Lord, saved by His grace."

Koshkinen's face shone as he witnessed for the Lord. This had a tremendous effect on, not only the Russian prisoners, but also the Finnish soldiers. By 4:00 Monday morning, they were all singing and praying. The change in the atmosphere was indescribable. Though the day was dawning, no one had had a moments sleep.

The town clock struck 6:00am. The guards wished they could have begged for mercy for these men, but they knew this was impossible. Between two rows of guards, the Russians marched to the execution. One asked to be allowed to sing Koshkinen's song once more. Permission was granted. Then they asked to die with uncovered faces. With hands raised toward Heaven, they sang the song with all their strength. When the last line was finished, the Lieutenant gave the word, "Fire!" The seven Russian soldiers went singing into Heaven having fought their last fight. The guards bowed their heads in silent prayer. Said one guard, "What happened to the others, I do not know, but I was a new man from that hour." He had seen many men facing the terror of impending death. He had seen Christ still the storm as they looked to Him who has dominion over the sea. As a motto reads: "The Lord will either calm your storm, or allow it to rage while he calms you."

I believe when the child of God takes their final voyage:

  • Faith will look across the stormy chasm of time and whisper "Peace, be still."
  • Truth will sail safely through the troubled waters to behold that Celestial City where there cometh no night.
  • Hope will look above the highest mountain and see the bright and morning star.
  • Love will no longer see through a glass darkly but face to face and behold Him, the One that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5).
  • Grace will roll the mist away and reveal, through the endless ages to come, the exceeding riches of His glory!


  1. Richard Lee, There's Hope (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1996), pg. 67.
  2. The Salvation Army War Cry, as told by Leslie B. Lynn, The Miracles of Jesus, (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1990), Pg. 124-126.

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