When our own Chris faced the worst storm of her life,
the assault and death of her teenage son Daniel,
she pondered the print of this painting by Jean Guichard
as she waited for news in the hospital waiting room.
The above painting of a tiny lighthouse keeper
in the midst of a storm is our symbol for the week as we ponder how a good God
could allow such terrible storms in the lives of His beloved,
and how, when we are in the midst of them, we should respond.
The storm the disciples faced was so bad, that even for experienced sailors,
they were sure they were going to die.
They did not die, for Jesus, in an instant, made the sea dead calm.
Chris’s Daniel, however did die, but then, because he knew Jesus,
flew into His arms for all eternity.
The only place we are safe in a storm, says Keller, is “in the will of God.”
Have you ever faced a storm and felt like Jesus was asleep in the boat?
I felt like that when my daughter Sally came home from Krakow, Poland
after her husband abandoned her in 2002,
shortly before her dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
It was then that she painted her painting of Aslan, looking for an answer as to why a good God would allow such terrible storms in the lives of His children.
Most of you are familiar with this story, but if not, or you are interested in hearing her back story, she spoke last summer at Wheaton College, where her painting hangs in their Marion Wade Center, explaining how God answered her question through the painting. On this page there is also an article on this page from last month’s Today’s Christian Living on Sally and her painting.
Perhaps you are in the midst of a storm or significant squall now.
There is so much more in this familiar story of Mark 4 than we may at first see,
and it will help us go through the storms of peril, grief, and loss
with faith and with wisdom.
Highlight from Last Week:
How you are really praying Scripture! There is such power in combining the Word and prayer! I know you will see answers. I see how we are all praying more about our hearts than our circumstances.
Please pray for us in prison today, death row tomorrow, and then back in regular prisons. The women are loving Kathy Troccoli and He is using her to minister. Please pray that the Lord will move the hearts of unbelievers to come, if He knows they will be touched.
- What stands out to you from the above, and why?
- Are you in midst of a squall now? You don’t have to tell us what it is, but we will pray for God to meet you this week.
Monday: Sleeping on a Cushion
The detail of Jesus sleeping on a cushion adds nothing to the plot. Keller says that is is there because “Jesus was sleeping on a cushion.” 🙂 It is the mark, not of a fable, but, as Vincent Taylor put it, “genuine reminicence.” It’s there because this incident actually happened.
3. Read Mark 4:35-38
A. Make observations, looking carefully at details.
B. What details do you find that seem unnecessary to the plot-line?
4. Read the opening of Chapter 5 in King’s Cross, through the above Scripture, and share what stands out to you.
5. Share a recent time when you went through a squall and the Lord helped you.
Tuesday: Only God Can Control A Storm
The water level in the Great Lakes is as high as it has been in recorded history. The rock wall my parents put in over thirty years ago is crumbling. Last year I had an ice shove that came within four feet of the house. (Here is my friend Twila on top, showing how big it was!)
I asked my son John, who designs bridges all over the world that must withstand storms, what could be done. He studied the situation and said, “Anything we could do would be very expensive and most likely ineffectual. Let’s just trust God.” And so, that is what I am doing. I realize He will either stop the storm or be with me in it.
6. Read Mark 4:39-41.
A. Make observations, noting detail.
B. What stands out to you and why?
7. Read Keller’s comments from where you left off yesterday up to “Unmanageable Power.”
What do you learn about God?
8. Pray this Scripture by either using what you learn to speak to your soul about a squall in
your life, or by using it to praise Him, confess to Him, or petition Him.
Wednesday: Don’t You Care?
The late Paul Little, an evangelist from the later 1900’s, said that the real question when tragedy strikes is not “Why did this happen,” but “does God love me?”
9. Read Mark 4:35-41 again and see if you see anything new, or if He impresses something on your heart. If so, share.
10. Read the section entitled “Unmanageable Power” in Keller’s book and share any notes, thoughts, or questions.
11. In prayer, tell the Lord why you know He loves you, despite the trouble in your life.
Thursday: One Greater than Jonah
12. Read Jonah 1.
A. Note any similarities between this storm and the storm of Mark 4.
B. Note any differences.
13. Read Keller’s section Costly Power and share anything you would like to remember.
Friday: Jonah’s Prayer
14. Read Jonah’s prayer in Jonah 2 and share anything that stands out to you and why.
15. Take what stood out to you and incorporate it into your own prayer here.
16. What do you think you will remember about this week and why?