Day 5

Miracles of Land and Sea

from the The Miracles of Jesus reading plan


Luke 8:22-25, Mark 6:47-52, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 11:12-14, Mark 11:20-25

BY Guest Writer

Scripture Reading: Luke 8:22-25, Mark 6:47-52, Matthew 17:24-27, Mark 11:12-14, Mark 11:20-25

It’s scary to ask the Lord for specific and even tangible things.

Recently, our pastor encouraged the congregation to pray more specific prayers. I confess that the moment he invited us into this journey, I began to doubt that God would actually hear my prayers. I usually like to manage my expectations and qualify my prayers with something like, “If it’s Your will, Lord, then…” But our pastor was calling us to more. He was calling us to faith. Since that encouragement, I’ve sought to ask Jesus to do miracles in my own my life. But I fear my faith is lacking.

I relate to the fear the disciples so often display in the Gospels. They were normal people, after all, just like you and me. Although they walked with Jesus, they still struggled with unbelief (Luke 8:25). And like the disciples, when the storms rage and the winds blow and everything seems unsure in my own life, peace feels far off and unimaginable.

The unknown can be scary, but Jesus calls us to something greater than our fear. He calls us to faith. The miracles of Jesus remind us that no matter our circumstances, He proves His faithfulness over and over again. He doesn’t just offer peace—He is Peace. He doesn’t exercise His power over nature—He is Power.

Jesus’ miracles over land and sea are examples of the power and authority He has over the world He created (John 1:1-3). Scripture tells us that Jesus defied gravity by walking on water (Mark 6:49), and that the winds and the waves obeyed Him with a word (Luke 8:24-27). But despite all they had witnessed throughout their time with Jesus, even the disciples didn’t understand. They lacked faith and their hearts grew hard (Mark 6:52). While Jesus didn’t have to reveal His power in this way, through miracles, He did so out of His mercy for them.

Just as He did with the disciples, Jesus calls us to trust Him in the middle of the storms we face. He asks us, “Where is your faith?” because what’s going on in our doubtful, troubled hearts is important to Him. He gently instructs us to “Have courage!” and reminds us that it’s because of who He is that we don’t have to be afraid (Mark 6:50). The rules of nature don’t apply to Him. The One who spoke creation into existence can also calm it with a word (Mark 4:35-41).

Jesus invites us to trust Him, and I long for the faith to do so. His miracles are for us, too, so that we might see and know that He is Lord. The wind may be howling, the waves may be crashing, but our God is faithful in the midst of it all. By His grace, may we have the courage to trust Him in any circumstance. May we have the faith to call out to Him, to take Him at His word, and to believe.

SRT-Miracles-Instagram-5s

 

Trillia Newbell is the author of Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts, Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves, and United: Captured by God’s Vision for Diversity. Trillia is married to her best friend, Thern. Together, they reside with their two children near Nashville, Tennessee. You can find her find her on Twitter at @trillianewbell.

Post Comments (117)

117 thoughts on "Miracles of Land and Sea"

  1. Diane Huntsman says:

    I’m like the father in the gospel of Mark.. “I believe help me with my unbelief” there are things I have no problem believing and there are things that just leave me doubting like Thomas! I need to see the scars with my own eyes to believe!! I think our humanity really does a job on our faith.. our human limitations and the scars we bear from dysfunctional households.. parents who misrepresented God.. we confuse Him with the let downs we’ve experienced with those we did trust.. it’s the lifelong process of learning He is not like those who have proven all kinds of disappointments to us.. He is the essence of true blue faithfulness and unconditional love.. I think I lack faith because I lack an understanding of who He really is.. but passages like this show me that He is God, His ways aren’t my ways they are higher.. He’s not my personal genie doing all that I think He should be the way I think He should do it.. I mean if I’m honest, I want Him to do exactly what I want, but He has His purpose for what He does and how He does things.. some of what He does and allows is a mystery to me, but not to Him.. my job is to trust Him even when I don’t understand His methods or His plans.. I pray for all of us friends, that our faith would increase and our trust in Him would be unshakable!!! That things that don’t make sense would only make us marvel at the mystery of His ways!! Hugs to all!!

    1. Nancy says:

      Amen Diane. I love, “He is the essence of true blue faithfulness and unconditional love.”

    2. She Reads Truth says:

      Diane – this was so insightful! Thank you for sharing. Always a pleasure to read your comments. Grateful to have you in this community!

      – Stormye

  2. churchmouse says:

    More questions than answers this day. The disciples are being battered in a storm. Jesus not only knows this. He sees this. What does He do? He walks toward them on the water, wanting to pass by! Huh? These are your disciples, Jesus and you intend to just walk by while they’re in trouble?! And the fig tree is minding its business, growing its leaves, but it was not yet the season for figs. Jesus is hungry. But, no figs. (what did He expect? It wasn’t the season for them) So, he curses it. What? These two miracles have hard elements. What is the lesson for me in these hard elements? Do I just shrug my shoulders and trust in Jesus because that’s what I’m supposed to do? I’m grappling with the hard elements.

    1. I had the same reaction to both passages. Why was Jesus “intending to walk by”? And what about the tree, if it wasn’t in season, why did Jesus expect it to be? But I think with the first, Jesus doesn’t need to save them because he knows they will be fine and maybe he wants them to trust him and have faith so he wasn’t planning on stopping. Who knows why he wanted to go for a walk on the water then, but I think it’s not the point to get hung up on. As for the tree, maybe it illustrates Jesus’ humanness in contrast with his power. He is hungry because he is human, he can make the tree whither because He is God.
      These aren’t great answers but I’ve learned that getting hung up on the little stuff doesn’t really help my faith, there’s a lot of details the Bible leaves out and I have to trust it’s because they just aren’t that important to the story.

      1. churchmouse says:

        I value every word of Scripture as God revealing Himself directly to me so every verse is important and worthy of my trying to understand. I know His mind is far beyond my full comprehension. I want to be faithful to pay attention to even the small details because therein often lies a key to understanding the larger picture. I so appreciate the SRT devotion and each one’s comments because so often I gain deeper and different insight. It is in the search for fuller understanding that I come to appreciate and love Jesus even more. Thank you for helping me.

    2. Amyloukou put this in a comment up above:Jesus cursing the fig tree was to illustrate the “fruitlessness” of the Jewish religion and the Pharisees of the time – seeming healthy and green on the outside, but truly dead inside and not producing any fruit. (In their case, they were not producing the fruits of true service and devotion to the Lord, caring for the poor, etc.) Similar to Jesus’s rebuke to them being “whitewashed tombs” – pure on the outside but filled with death and decay on the inside (Matt. 23:27).

    3. Leesha says:

      Churchmouse, your struggles with those two passages were really similar to mine.
      I did some research on the fig tree and found some stuff similar to what others found lower in the comments. The one thing I did find out was that fig trees will usually produce fruit before they produce leaves, and this particular fig tree had leaves, which Jesus could see from a distance; so it would have made sense for there to be fruit as well. And then like the others said in response lower talked about how the fig tree was symbolic of Israel and their lack of fruit when they looked, from the outside, quite religious. It was a lesson and a warning that a fruitless tree would be cut off.

      As for why Jesus wanted to pass by the disciples, I don’t know exactly. I compared some commentaries, but it seems like He wanted to help them understand and see His sovereignty and power. One commentary I read, said He was waiting for them to call to Him before He would go towards them.
      As I read it, I found it interesting that the disciples had seemingly forgotten that Jesus had calmed the storm two chapters earlier in Mark, so then perhaps Jesus walking on the water was also supposed to be in answer to their question after that event, of “who is this?”
      Indeed, lots of questions after reading this today.

      1. April says:

        Leesha, thank you for the further explanation about the fig fruit typically being there before the leaves. It helped me understand the other reference comparing the fruitlessness of religion. Before, I just kept thinking, “if Jesus was hungry & wanted the fruit so much, couldn’t he have just easily commanded the best fruit ever to appear for them all rather than cursing the tree?” …but the explanation of his cursing the outward appearance of not being truthful goes with, “Have faith in God…” (vs 22) and it aligns with Rev. 3:16 when he says if we are lukewarm, he will spit us out of his mouth. He wants our truthful devotion, not “fake it ’till you make it” actions.

    4. Emily says:

      When I read Mark 6:48 yesterday, “Jesus intended to pass them by,” really stood out to me! The words stopped me in my tracks, so I researched it and mulled it over all day and talked it through with my husband who always has a unique perspective on things. So, here is my perspective on the matter…Jesus told the disciples to get in the boat and row to the other side of the sea (which is about 7 miles across). The storm that ensued was so bad that according to the other gospels, they had only rowed about 1 mile in 8 or 9 hours!! They were struggling through their storm, but had not called out for help. I think Jesus wanted to walk with them or near them so they would know He was there, but He didn’t help them until they asked for it. He is always with us in our storms, walking right beside us, but it’s not until we cry out to Him that He calms the storms and rescues us from the waves. So thankful that He didn’t leave me to row through that storms of life alone!

      1. Pamela Jo says:

        Thanks Emily for your insight. It really resonated with me.

  3. Mari says:

    This reminds me of the song by Ryan Stevenson. “In The Eye of The Storm”. We’ve been going through a storm for a very long time. I was very encouraged today as this gives me so much hope. My heart aches for my children. I feel like I’m the one that’s always asking for prayer, but we sure do need it. Please pray for their hearts especially for my son who is a teenager.

    1. Heidi says:

      Praying with you and for you.

  4. Anne H says:

    Sometimes my prayers seem so selfish, so this aspect of my relationship with God is always a struggle. I grew up experiencing tons of shame, which today has morphed into the belief that I don’t deserve to ask Him for help. But the funny thing is, I feel like everyone else I come across in life deserves his love, no matter what they’ve done. I just pray I can someday show the same compassion to myself. I live such a wonderful life and have been blessed in so many ways, and that’s all because of God’s love. I just need to remember that I am not isolated from his blessings.

    1. Melody Reid says:

      I struggle with this too Anne. I believe it for everyone else but often still struggle to believe it for myself.

      1. Anne H says:

        I’m adding you to my prayers then, Melody! You deserve so much! x

  5. Lana says:

    I was talking about this with a friend last night. She said God kept asking her what she needed and she didn’t know how to respond. His will? Her will? Was this a trick question? From my understanding, I like to believe that God has a divine path for me to walk in this life. It’s my choice to walk it, and by committing to him everyday, I make the choice to continue down it. That is my intent. However, like we learned in Isaiah, God delights in us. And I truly think he oftentimes would love to give us joy. And he would give us more joy if we just asked for it. So I have faith in my Father’s plan, but when I do ask for things, I ask with the spirit of a child. God, please bless me with x. Whether he gives it to me or not doesn’t impact my love for him because I trust he has my best interest at heart and that I’m still on the path. The only thing I need to ask for to stay on the path is a constant, daily relationship with him and that’s enough. Everything else is extra icing! A trusting life will not topple! Isaiah 28:16 But I do enjoy the icing! God has blessed me with so much icing! I’m at sitting over here in my icing pajamas on top of my icing bed! My duvet is a rose/plum/orchid and I am in LOVE with it. I am spoiled and humbled by his love! So much icing. So much.

    1. Your description made me smile, yes I have been blessed with so much icing too!

    2. Elizabeth says:

      This brought my heart so much joy! Yes!! We have been blessed abundantly. More than we could ever imagine. What a great heart attitude to look at everything as icing!

  6. alecia says:

    Praying specifically is such a hard concept for us isn’t it? Growing up in a more traditional Baptist home it was almost selfish to pray specifically. We were expected to want God’s will and that’s it. Always being taught, “God knows the desires of our hearts” and trust in His will. Praying is something I really don’t know how to do. I ask you to specifically pray for me and my baby! My husband and I have been trying for kids for 3 years and I’m 8 weeks and 3 days at the ripe age of 38. Prayers for my trust that everything’s going to be ok and for a healthy baby! Talk about miracles! I really didn’t think this was ever going to happen!

    1. Mamajonk says:

      Praying for you Alecia and your sweet baby to be! I’ve been where you’re at (albeit many years ago ;). The Lord is faithful and so good!

    2. Anne H says:

      Praying for you and your husband and baby to be! My mother had me at 39. :)

    3. She Reads Truth says:

      Absolutely praying for you and your little one, Alecia! What an exciting time!

      – Stormye

    4. Michele says:

      I am praying for you and your pregnancy! I’m almost 8 weeks myself with my first (in my 30s,) so please keep me in your prayers :-). God bless you!

      1. She Reads Truth says:

        Praying for you and your little one! Asking the Lord for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

        – Stormye

  7. Kristi says:

    For all of you who are asking how we can know if we’re praying according to God’s will, this link might be helpful. It references a lot of scripture and really helped me to process this question:

    http://www.gotquestions.org/amp/praying-will-of-God.html

    1. Alexis says:

      I love Gotquestions and this was great! Thank you for sharing the link <3

    2. Heidi says:

      Thanks for the link.

  8. Katalina says:

    Mark 11:24 “Therefore I tell you, all the things your pray and ask for- believe that you have received them, and you will have them.” The verse that really stood out to me ❤ Faith is vital to our relationship with Christ. Believe. Saying the words have no meaning when there’s no faith behind them. It’s not easy because we’re humans and are accustomed to being disappointed or failed but we know a God who is perfect and His perfect son who proved time and time again what He’s capable of. His miracles are real and what you read in these bible stories can happen in your life too. Don’t just say but PROCLAIM. Words have power and they can be fueled by faith. My mom always tells me that your mouth has the power to make things happen. If your words are negative “I can’t do this, this isn’t going to happen…” that’s how it’s going to be. If you have faith in Jesus and proclaim healing, restoration, whatever it may be, it will happen. There’s all different cases but Jesus wants us to believe in the words we say. That’s why I love this verse so much. He’s constantly proving to me that miracles can happen in my life as well as anything I pray for can be done through faith, knowing He hears every word❤

    1. Kristi says:

      Yes! I just noticed that the my study Bible says “To pray effectively, you need faith in God, not faith in the object of your request.” I think that ties in well with what you said. Thanks for the reminder that is all about faith in the One who makes all things possible!

    2. Emily B. says:

      Love what you shared about proclaiming, not just saying. Thanks for this perspective!

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