Jesus and the disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee when Jesus warns the disciples to “take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees”. The disciples immediately think that Jesus is reprimanding them because they had not brought any bread with them. In response to their discussion Jesus asks, “Do you not remember when I broke the loaves for the five thousand … or for the four thousand?” (Mark 8:13-21)
We could easily condemn the disciples for not remembering how marvelously Jesus had blessed the little amounts that were present, how He fed the multitudes and how that resulted in baskets of left over bread. But perhaps we too are similar in nature. God in His mercy and grace shows up, forgives us, comes into our lives, provides us with His Holy Spirit and the comfort of His word and yet we easily forget these blessings. God promises us eternal blessings and yet we only see the here and now struggles. He has answered many of our prayers and yet at another time we question why He might seem to be distant.
What Jesus was using as a teaching situation, the disciples understood to be correction and reprimand. The disciples, being aware of their inadequacies, their faults then interpreted the instructions of Jesus in light of their weakness. They felt that God was rebuking them, instead of seeing the loving instruction that God was giving to them.
In another boating incident, when Jesus was asleep in the midst of a storm, the fearful disciples wake Him saying, “do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) Jesus was right there in their midst yet in the eyes of the disciples it seemed like Jesus did not care about the situations and the distress that was surrounding the disciples. The disciples failed to see how Jesus was actually going through the storm with them. Though the disciples wanted the storm removed, Jesus’ care was shown by being in the midst of the storm with them. The disciples were fearful and lacked faith (vs 40) because they could not trust that all would be okay with Jesus in their midst. The disciples were flustered by the storm, Jesus was at peace in the storm.
In the struggles in our lives, do we remember what Jesus had done in the past, do we draw strength from these past experiences? Do we see the comments or the lack of comments from Jesus as being corrections or do we see them as being loving instructions? Do we see the activity of Jesus, or the lack of activity of Jesus, as showing that He doesn’t care or that He has no concern for us in our situations?
Take a moment to remember, with thanksgiving, what Jesus has already done for you. Ask Jesus to help you see that He is not only with you in the storm, but that He is actually caring for you in the midst of the storm.