In Christ’s Grip

Bob RoaneJesus Christ, Loving and Trusting God

Jesus says: My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)

This post is based on Mark 4:35-41 and builds on Immanuel: Ruler of the Waves; Jesus Get Us; Do You Still Have No Faith?; Different Kinds of Storms; Christ Prays and Is Present

Christ Holds on to Us

Our grasping onto Christ by faith is enclosed within the mighty grip of Christ. One man recalled helping his daughter learn to walk: I took her by the hand, and I can still feel her fingers clutching my hand. She was not relying on her feeble grasp on me, but on my strong grasp on her. That’s how faith works as we hold on to Christ as our Lord and Savior. Our weak exercise of faith is gripped and enfolded in the mighty grasp of the Son of God who comes down to us.1

Scripture says: “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms….My whole being follows hard after You and clings closely to You. Your right hand upholds me.”2 We human beings are frail and our lives are short and troubled. Thank God, Jesus is our refuge and our strength. When troubles are near, the Lord is nearer, and He’s ready to deliver us. So we need not fear even if the world blows up and mountains crumble into the sea.

When Storms Come, Jesus’ Power Sustains Us

I love Mark 4:39. When the severe storm was raging, Christ got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. The Lord was not showing off, but performing miracles to demonstrate His power to uphold us. The disciples were afraid the water would destroy them. But Christ controls the sea and everything else.

We fear that other things will wipe us out. But the Lord’s in control of those too, whatever they are. He doesn’t keep us from problems. Over the centuries, God’s people have been jeered, flogged, chained, imprisoned, put to death by stoning and swords, and even sawed in two. They were destitute, persecuted, and mistreated, sometimes living in caves.3 We get hurt and battered in this life, but Christ gets us through. He says; “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world….United with me you may have peace (shalom).”4

I want a stress-free life and so do you, but that’s not possible. We want a storm cellar or a bomb shelter to crawl into, but that’s not promised. Jesus calls us to rejoice in His overcoming. Whatever is crushing us, He says, “I’ve already conquered it and will soon remove it!” Christians will never be permanently overwhelmed.  In Christ, we are over-comers.

We should never tire of the thought of God’s power.
(Donald Grey Barnhouse)

We Must Be Patient

Tryon Edwards (1809-1894) says: “Never think that God’s delay is His denial. True prayer always receives what it asks, or something better.” The Lord’s timing is perfect, but sometimes He postpones rescuing. He is never cruel, but He holds back sometimes to teach us to depend on Him more. Isaiah 30:18 says: “The Lord longs to be gracious to you. Therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!”

To help us hang on to Christ when He seems slow remember:

  • Believers are loved by God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
  • We are right with God and righteous because of Jesus’ saving work.
  • We are engaged in spiritual battle with Satan and the world.
  • God’s written word is true and trustworthy.
  • The Lord doesn’t keep back His goodness.5

Victory in Jesus

Troubles come, but they can’t damage or destroy believers eternally. On the cross, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Soon, with another loud cry, Jesus breathed His last. And the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom.6 That’s wonderful news! The Son of God made full atonement on the cross to open the way to God for us!

  • He endures darkness, so believers can walk in the light.
  • He cries, so we rejoice that our names are written in heaven.
  • Christ is cursed, so we can be cleaned and cured.
  • He’s wounded for our transgressions, so that we are healed.
  • He suffers in heart, mind, soul, and strength, so believers never go to Hell.
  • Jesus is distressed, to give us rest for our souls.
  • He’s isolated, so we enjoy fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit!

Our Success is Guaranteed

How do we know that Jesus’ cross-work accomplished His plan? God raised Christ from the dead! And the resurrected Lord said: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”7

In Mark 4, Jesus commands His disciples to go across the Sea of Galilee, and He got them across. And He guarantees that we will get across our troubles in this life to our heavenly home. Our ship may creak, groan, and shiver in the winds. But we will get to the other side if we are united to Christ by faith. Lord, increase our trust in you!

Take heart, beloved. We can endure anything, by God’s grace, when we know we will get through.

Notes (various Bible translations): 1 Adapted from Thomas F. Torrance, A Passion for Christ, p. 26.     2 Deut 33:27; Psalm 63:8.     3 Heb 11:36-38.     4 John 16:33.     5 Jer 31:3; John 17:23; 2 Cor 5:21; Eph 6:10-20; Psalm 119:89; Matt 24:35; Psalm 84:11.     6 Mark 15:34-38.     7 Matt 28:18-20.