Being in labor can be like being in a storm raging about you. You are experiencing powerful forces of nature that are not in your voluntary control. Let us learn a lesson from this account of the disciples being in a storm. Like the disciples in the boat, you must surrender to these forces. And also like them, as a Christian in labor, there is the Lord of the storm with you!
Mark 4:35-40 35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
I have been told about the little fishing boats and the terrible squalls that come up on the Sea of Galilee. The disciples were in such a little boat, and a great squall arose on the lake and winds and waves were making the boat so topsy- turvy that the disciples began to fear for their lives – it was almost swamping the boat! With One great exception – Jesus was in the boat asleep. He had no fear. He knew who controlled the wind and waves. He knew whose power dictated and guided their force. There is nothing “by chance.” It was a test of their faith in Jesus as the Son of God. They need not fear for He was with them. He rebuked them for this later. Why rebuke them for their lack of faith? Well, He had said, “Let us go to the other side.” (v35) God’s word and His will cannot be thwarted. They didn’t know who He was.
The seemingly uncontrollable forces of nature are under Christ’s control. The disciples are struggling against the waves, they are laboring, they are toiling greatly, straining. Jesus knows this and He lets them labor. He walks on water. He is not subject to these seemingly uncontrollable forces of nature, they are subject to Him. He is not disturbed by them though they rage about Him. Winds and waves. We read in another account that He is IN the boat. The storm rages around Him yet he sleeps in the boat. The disciples struggle, are afraid and doubt Jesus’ care. He awakes, rebukes the storm, tells it “peace be still” and it stops raging. It is still. Then He rebukes the disciples. How could they doubt or fear? He is there. They see and feel the storm and the sight of the storm. Seeing the force of the storm lessens their view of the resident Christ and they no longer see His power. They are deluded by their experience of the storm to think Christ is less, less than the Lord of the universe. The creator and sustainer of the universe. You can sense the storm raging about you but let your soul be still. My peace I leave you. He doesn’t give as the world gives. It is not an empty promise but the storm of labor, of life, raging, it is meted out for you by God. But your soul can be stilled even in the midst of it for the Lord is there. He has control over it. Do not doubt His power or goodness or care just because there is a storm. Ps. 116 “Be at rest once more O my Soul.” Rest means not repose but a state of unthreatened wellbeing for the Lord is there. Jehovah Shamma, what more do you want or need?
Now consider where they were. They were in a boat, not on an island or even moored at a pier. But out in the lake, at the whim of the waves, without anchor. A little boat, tossed about. There were no external braces. They was no stabilizing force, no prop. They were simply wholesale subject to the forces of nature. Yet in that scenario, rather than fear, Jesus slept. Are there uncontrollable forces raging about you? These forces are under God’s sovereign control and you are the object of His love. It is a test of your faith. No other props or piers or docking station. Don’t seek the comfort or stabilization of a worldly island. Where God is, there is peace. Storms rage but they are not stronger than Him. In fact, He sends and controls them! All I need is God with me. Are you in Christ? Then you can have peace in the storm when you rest in Him. Surrender, don’t resist. Be as the little boat in the storm – surrendered to the movement of the waves, surrendered ultimately to the God moving those waves. Let Him control the storms. Let Him control you. He has a purpose in the storm and it is for your good to drive you to Him alone and He will satisfy you. Isa 58:11 The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
In troubles, God takes away all the props and it drives you solely to cling to Him. There’s no real power or security in anything else.
We see another account in Luke 8:22-25. In verse 24 we read the disciples declaring, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” This was apparently an accurate assessment because it says in verse 23 that the boat was being swamped and they were in great danger. But it was an expression of unbelief because Jesus said they were going to the other side. They appeared to be in great danger, circumstances were challenging, but they should have held onto the naked word of God, not appearances. THAT’S faith. They would come to that in the end of course, after He displayed His power by quieting the storm. But let’s have faith while yet in the storm. It’s not that I will only be at peace when there is no storm. Even pagans do that. Then I don’t need Jesus! No, I am at peace IN the storm knowing He is with me and that He controls the storm.
Hebrews 13:5-6 …God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
You see, they were really in the most secure place in the universe because of the simple fact that JESUS was there. He is the Lord of the universe, and the Lord of the storm. It is more secure to be in a boat in a storm with Jesus in the boat than any place on land, no matter the weather! Be content that JESUS is there with you. That is enough. That makes it the most secure place to be.
Like the storm, your labor is meted out by God. Trust in Him. These contractions are working for good – the delivery of your child! Like the storm, it is not disorderly, but ordered – every wave of contraction is under God’s control. Yield to them, do not resist! Labor can seem like an uncontrollable storm, but it is under the Lord’s control.