Waves that Wash the Chaff

April 8, 2021


I’m sure you’ve been there. If you haven’t, just wait because it’s coming.

I’m referring to that feeling of being completely overrun by the task in front of you.

• An impending assignment at school, a master’s thesis, a doctoral dissertation
• A cancer diagnosis
• Putting back together a failing marriage

When you’re in the thick of it, it literally feels like you are drowning. So, you hunker down, pull late nights, schedule scans, and muster every bit of courage to win back long-lost affection – all while having to deal with crippling anxiety that robs both sleep and sweet dreams. But what do you do when even those efforts fail, when the waves just keep coming, and the storm intensifies?

This is where we find the disciples in Mark 4:35-41. A furious squall came upon them. Waves broke with such force that it threatened to sink the boat, leaving the men to drown.


Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee” (1633)

is his only seascape painting.


Some in the boat were experienced fishermen. No doubt they faced other storms. And now they were utilizing every trick in the book to stay afloat.

Yet this situation was quickly escalating beyond their capacities. They were scared. Their very lives were in danger.

Storms expose where true faith lies.

We’ll do everything in our power to solve pressing problems using our methods and means. In fact, most of us would rather avoid the storms altogether! But consider this: What if storms are designed to force a quicker end of our feeble attempts at self-rescue, to off-load unhelpful chaff?

For the disciples, the resolution to their perceived imminent demise lay sleeping a few feet away! Did they not want to wake the teacher, to bother him? Did they have more faith in themselves than in God?

Herein lies a powerful lesson:

Our competencies can keep us from turning to Jesus as a first recourse.

Jesus was the last option they sought when he should have been the first. Like the disciples, we tend to look to past performance, people, processes, or organizations as functional saviors. But to expect people or organizations to save us when they were never designed for that purpose is a sure recipe for disaster.

What we need to do is yield the storm over to the One who has sovereign power over creation.

I love the quote by Charles Spurgeon, “I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me up against the Rock of Ages.”


Article by Brian Hershey, YFC Military Development Director