The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, December 31, 2021 comes to us from Jennifer Prince Kingsley of Alabama
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?” 41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Mark 4:35-41 NIV
“Still on the Boat”
I was preparing for an entrance exam. I had failed the exam the previous year, and I was very stressed. I was not sure what to do. My mom called me one day and realized I was scared. She reminded me of the story in our reading today. She said, “Jenny, Jesus may have appeared to be sleeping, but he was still on the boat!” With Jesus on the boat with his disciples, there was no chance that they would have drowned! That reminded me that whatever I may be facing, I am never alone. Christ is with me and will see me through.
I have often felt unsure of what to do in fearful situations. Sometimes it feels like Jesus is sleeping when I am in a storm. But I have learned that he is still on the boat with me even if he is silent in the moment. It may seem like I am going to drown, but Jesus is with me. Since coming to this realization, I have failed more exams and passed others; I have taken a few risks and second-guessed myself a million times. But through it all I have never forgotten that Jesus is still on the boat with me.
One of my sons has taught his son, daughter, and me (his mother) that failures are truly an opportunity to learn and grow. He often asks, “What did you learn from that?” As we work to figure out what we need to learn, I can feel Jesus’ presence standing in that boat during the storm. I sense God’s always-present loving care empowering us to learn from whatever the “failure” had been. Certainly, God is always with us, no matter what!!
Dear Lord, sometimes our storms are so frightening that we forget you are with us. Help us to trust you to take us safely to the other shore. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
--Jennifer Prince Kingsley
Students preparing for exams.
Thought for the Day:
Rather than focusing on the storm, I will focus on Jesus, who is always with me.