“Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.” (Mark 6:45 ESV)
The ESV translation here could be a little better. The word translated “he made” is stronger than that in the Greek. It’s probably better to translate it, “he insisted” (NLT). The word means to force or compel, and this is quite revealing. Where does obeying Jesus get them? In the middle of the sea rowing against a strong wind and making little headway, no doubt wondering why Jesus had told them to row across the lake in the dark? All it seemed, that obeying Jesus had got them, was more trouble.
The Tyndale Commentary is quite perceptive here:
This whole episode is a good illustration of the life of discipleship, seen as a constant experience of testing and deliverance; for it was again (cf. 4:35) not through stubborn self-will, but through direct obedience to the command of Jesus, that the disciples found themselves in this danger. The storm did not show that they had deviated from the path of God’s will: instead, God’s path for them lay through the storm, to the other shore of the lake.
This is a truth from which we really cannot escape, even though sometimes we would like to. Anyone who has been following Jesus for any length of time knows that, for God’s good and wise purposes, his path for us lays directly through the middle of a storm that is not of our own making. It’s all too human when we find ourselves tossed around in such a tempest that we begin asking what we did wrong that God would allow this to happen to us. Sometimes storms are God’s will for us. This reminds me of a song by Scott Krippayne called Sometimes He Calms the Storm: