On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
Let us learn that Christ’s service does not exempt his servants from storms. Here were the disciples in the path of duty. They were obediently following Jesus, wherever he went. They were daily attending on His ministry, and hearkening to His word. They were daily testifying to the world that whatever Scribes and Pharisees might think, they believed on Jesus, loved Jesus, and were not ashamed to give up all for his sake. Yet here we see these men in trouble, tossed up and down by a tempest, and in danger of being drowned.
Let us mark well this lesson. If we are true Christians, we must not expect everything smooth in our journey to heaven. We must count it no strange thing if we have to endure sicknesses, losses, bereavements, and disappointments, just like other men. Free pardon and full forgiveness, grace by the way and glory at the end – all this our Saviour has promised to give. But He has never promised that we shall have no afflictions. He loves us too well to promise that. By affliction He teaches us many precious lessons, without which we should never learn. By affliction He shows us our emptiness and weakness, draws us to the throne of grace, purifies our affections, weans us from the world, makes us long for heaven. In the resurrection morning we shall all say, “it is good for me that I was afflicted.” We shall thank God for every storm.
from Expository Thoughts on Mark, J.C. Ryle (1857)