Most of us are familiar with the phrase I am at my wit’s end. Did you know that that phrase is found in the Bible? In Psalm 107 we read about storms. To the Israelites water was a symbol of chaos and disorder. If you read the entire Psalm it is written for all of us who face trouble.
We could say that we are at our wit’s end from the troubles we’re facing due to this COVID pandemic. Many of our lives have been drastically changed. It has created uncertainty for many people concerning their jobs and their future.
The psalmist said beginning in Verse 25 “For He commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven, they went down to the depths, their courage melted away in their evil plight, they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wit’s end.”
James Boice said, “Forget the ocean. Perhaps you have been in a situation of an entirely different nature but in which you have also been at your wit’s end and cried to the Lord and were delivered.” In Mark 4:35-41 we read that the Lord Jesus was in a boat with the disciples in a great wind storm. The Lord Jesus is asleep in the stern of the boat. The disciples wake Him and ask, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” They could not understand how Jesus could sleep during such a tumultuous time. Their perception of Christ’s apparent obliviousness to their misery was a picture of how we often feel in life’s storms. We mistakenly think that we are alone, that no one, not even God knows what is happening or how we are feeling. This is not the end of the story. Mark tells us that Jesus said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” At this point the wind ceased and there was a great calm.
In Psalm 107:28, 29 we read, “Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” The word then is revealing. The Lord instead of being their first port of call was their last. We need to learn from this to go to God first in the storms of life and trust Him to weather the storm for us. One lesson stands out in Mark’s Gospel. The disciples are not equal to the storm! We are not equal to the storms of life either but God is. Knowing Jesus should cause us never to say that I am at my wit’s end.
What is the lesson here for us as Christian people? In Mark’s Gospel Jesus chided the disciples in asking them “Why are you so afraid. Have you still no faith?” We all need to ask ourselves these same questions. In light of the political divisions in our country, the government lockdowns, the economic anxiety this causes can bring fear. Where do we turn? Remember Christ was in the boat with the disciples on the stormy lake. This is a picture of our life in the midst of whatever circumstances we face. Fear is endemic to us as humans and we may admit that yes, I am fearful. I may fear life in general and feel that my faith may not be equal to the challenges that are coming.
What do I do? Jesus assures me that it is through storms, afflictions, hardships and challenges that my faith grows. Kent Hughes says, “Without them (the trials) you would be captive to the terrible tyranny of self. Understand that Christ wants to develop you through the storms ahead. Know that He is completely capable of delivering you without a word. He is the same Christ who calmed the storm, the same Christ who is in the boat with you. He is in you. Exercise the faith and lay down your fear for when this faith is active, fear vanishes!”