And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them.
The name Lloyd Scott likely does not ring a bell for most (if any) of us. Mr. Scott is the individual who recently finished in 32,875th place in the London Marathon. In 1989, his initial attempt at this particular race, he finished in 3 hours and 11 minutes (which is rather quick, I might add). Most recently, however, it took him six days. SIX DAYS. There is a perfectly good explanation for it, though. Mr. Scott has done all sorts of things in order to raise money for a cancer and leukemia charity. For the London Marathon, he competed in an antique deep diving suit that weighed 120 pounds (helmet and all). He “ran” 12 hours each day, averaging 4.8 miles every twelve hours. It is difficult to imagine such painfully slow progress.
The disciples in the boat on the lake in Mark 6 understood what it was like to make little progress, and only after great trial and effort. They faced a violent storm that threatened to not only thwart their efforts to cross the lake, but also to swamp their boat and sweep them away. The wind was decidedly against them, and there was little they could do. Seeing their struggle, Jesus arrived (on foot, no less!) to ultimately release them from their trouble. After an initial spasm of fear, thinking Jesus was a ghost, they became convinced it truly was him. He climbed into the boat with them and the wind ceased.
Life often works decidedly against us. Day after day we can find ourselves “making progress” only after supreme effort. And, the progress we make can seem so very insignificant. It is not for us to say exactly what it is that God is going to do to release us from our trouble, but I am convinced that he certainly knows and sees. I am also convinced that there comes a time when God acts on our behalf—when God makes it clear that it is he who is near. In so doing God overcomes the wind and the storm and returns to us his great peace.