When my first marriage ended, my life hit bottom in many ways. Once I accepted Christ and grew in obedience, I watched as God slowly rebuilt all the pieces to a bigger and more beautiful picture. I clung to the words of my favorite Bible story, when Jesus calms the storm in Mark 4. I was always moved by how the disciples were so scared and doubted Jesus’s power and concern for them simply because He was “asleep.” But He was never uninvolved or uncaring, and His action proves that as He calmed the storm with a single command. Once I got my own apartment and got back on my feet, I even had a large decal made for the wall that said, “Do you still have no faith?” to remind me of all He had done for me.
Today as I read this story again from a life rebuilt, I’m struck by another element of the story. The Bible says that the wind and waves immediately obeyed Jesus’s instruction. It wasn’t a slow calming of the storm. It was immediate — an obvious miracle. The waves and the wind didn’t rationalize that maybe they had heard Him wrong. They didn’t slowly sync with His command. And they didn’t ask for another sign to confirm the command, as I so often do. In Luke 19, Jesus says even the rocks can cry out in praise.
It hit me as I read, that the elements do a better job in obeying my Savior than I often do. True, they don’t have the gift of free will, while we do. But God didn’t intend our gift of free will to be a stumbling block. In fact, our free will is a way for us to demonstrate the depth of our love through immediate obedience because we know and can remember all He has done.
Immediate Obedience Despite Our Will
Immediate obedience is possible — not by legalistically obeying laws and rules — but through a loving relationship empowered by Christ. If He made the wind, waves, and rocks able to respond to Him in praise, worship, and obedience to Him, how much more does our free will give us this ability? He gives His followers the power of His Holy Spirit, fully equipped to do all things pertaining to life and godliness (Phil. 4:13, 2 Pet. 1:3).
Oh, the never-ending patience of the good, good Father as I’m often slow to obey, gradually stilling the storms in my life that He’s asked to me cease immediately. And how hesitant I can be to raise my hands in praise to Him. Maybe it just doesn’t need to be as complicated as I often make it. If the rocks and the wind and the waves know enough to know to obey Him and cry out in praise, then certainly so do I.