I love a good thunderstorm! Thunder booming so loud it makes me jump, lightning slashing across the sky and wind swooshing through bowing trees, intrigues me, draws me.
But the storm that arose suddenly while Jesus and His disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee was ferocious enough the instill fear even in these seasoned fishermen. Situated in a basin surrounded by mountains, the Sea of Galilee can be deceptively peaceful. Cool air from the east funneling down through the narrow mountain passes clashes with the hot, humid air over the lake, causing violent winds that stir up waves 10 feet high.
Where was Jesus while the disciples were being flung from side to side in the water-filled boat, wondering if the next wave would be their last? Sleeping!
Shaking Him awake, they admonished Him. After all, He was the one who got them into this mess.
“Let us go over to the other side,” He’d said after a long day of ministering to the crowds following Him, working miracle after miracle. They were simply obeying, and now they were caught in this sudden, furious squall.
“Don’t you even care that we’re going to drown?” they shouted.
So the Creator of the universe woke up and commanded the wind and the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”
Immediately the wind died down and the sea became calm. Jesus turned to His still-frightened friends.
“Why are you so afraid?” He asked them. “Do you still not have faith in me?”
It’s hard to have faith when you’re hanging on, being beaten and battered by wave after wave of life’s storms. You forget about the miracles that preceded the tempest. Even if we have Jesus in our boats, even when we’re obeying His commands, life’s sudden squalls will threaten us. Who can blame the disciples for waking Him and accusing Him of not caring? Don’t we do the same?
Did Jesus even have to calm the storm? His presence in the boat guaranteed them a safe passage, even through the worst of it. Perhaps the “Peace! Be still,” was not just for the wind and the waves, but was meant for the disciples, too – to calm their fear, to build their faith.
But He doesn’t always calm the storms in my life. Sometimes I have to ride it out. “Are You sleeping, Lord? Don’t You care? I’ve prayed and prayed. I don’t want to pray about this anymore. You aren’t answering.”
Daryl Scott, the father of Columbine victim Rachel Joy Scott, said when that happens to him, he just says, “I know You’re there, God.”
I, too, need to do the same – remind myself that the One who watches over me is ever present (Psalm 46:1), that He will neither slumber nor sleep (Psalm 121:4), even though He may choose to be silent. He’s watching and waiting, while I bail out the troubled waters, bucket by bucket; while I fight my fear with my weak faith; while that weak faith is being strengthened.
Someday I’ll get to the other side. But until then, through storm or calm, I’ll remind myself that Jesus IS in my boat.
Father God, in Your silence, let me hear Your presence. Amen.
Special-Tea: Mark 4:35-41