Remember Who Is In Your Boat

Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
— Mark 4:41

When the waves of adversity threaten . . . remember who is in your boat!

Endurance is the legendary survival story of Sir Ernest Shackleton. In 1914, Shackleton and his crew set sail for Antarctica aboard the Endurance, a three-masted ship named for the Shackleton family motto:

Fortitudine vincimus (By endurance we conquer)

A year into their expedition the Endurance became trapped in an ice pack in the Weddell Sea. It remained moored in the frozen sea for ten months before finally giving way to the glacial pressure.

Attempting to save his shipmates, Shackleton and five crewmen made what many consider to be the greatest ocean crossing in history – traveling 800 miles in an open lifeboat over the toughest piece of water on the planet.

Launching the lifeboat, James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24 April 1916

Launching the lifeboat, James Caird from the shore of Elephant Island, 24 April 1916

Shackleton survived the seas. He rescued his crew and won a spot in history. If I were to embark on an ocean adventure, Shackleton is the mariner I would want at the helm. He was good -- very good -- but he was not the best.

Nineteen hundred years earlier, a boat similar in size to Shackleton's lifeboat was caught in a raging sea. As winds shrieked and waves rose, as the seething sea crawled and cascaded into the boat, the crew panicked. Impending death softened these tough sailors. They were frantic.

Mark gives us the scene:

And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" Mark 4:37-41 ESV

Shackleton survived the seas, but Jesus conquered them! He put the wind on a leash and transformed tumultuous waves into a peaceful pond. That is power! The theological word is omnipotence. It means that God's strength knows no limits.

Scripture instructs me. It teaches me that God is all-powerful. It also teaches me that God is love (1 John 4:8). Ponder that powerful combination when you feel the waves crashing around your storm-tossed heart.

Jesus may seem to be "asleep in the back of the boat," but he is definitely in control. Think of it this way:

Unmatched power + Unending love = Unnecessary worry.

Are you facing the howling winds of adversity today? Do you feel tossed by circumstances beyond your control? Relax. Remember Who is in your boat.


Notes:

  • "The ship was named . . ." from www.shackleton100.com