“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
I love this portion for a lot of reasons. Notice, Jesus invited them into the boat to cross to the other side. Did He know there would be a tremendous and harrowing storm? Yes.
He sleeps. Have you ever been out in the middle of the ocean or a large body of water when a storm stirs up? It can be a fearful thing. I remember a story my dad told me of when he was in the Navy. He served on a destroyer, as a fire man (which means, he sat up in the “director”…we’d call it a “crow’s nest” and he sighted in targets for the torpedoes). He was up in that perch (a metal box on a pole, really), when a storm hit. He said the waves were so fierce that the ship was going down nearly vertical into the swells, and coming up so that he saw sky, not the horizon. He was only 17. The memory stuck with him decades later, it was so terrifying. Now, imagine a similar scenario, but a smaller craft, made of wood. Water is crashing over the bow, everyone is jostled back and forth, scrambling for something to hold onto so as not to be swept overboard. All the while, the Savior sleeps in the hold. How? Because He is the Lord of the storm. When we sing “He’s got the whole world in His hands”…it includes every ocean.
Then the frantic disciples shake Him awake with an accusation. “Don’t you care about us?” Things are scary! Our lives are in jeopardy! We have no control over what is happening to us! And this is the moment for which the invitation was given in the first place.
With a word, He stills the waters. We can’t do this in a puddle, much less out on the vastness of the sea. If there are ripples and agitation in the water, they simply have to play themselves out…it is against the laws of physics for them to immediately cease. But God is God over every law. He simply stops it. And the disciples learn a lesson in who He is, and that they can place their faith solidly in Him.
The takeaway for us? Let’s not push away the things that press us. The things that are fearfully challenging. The things which wring the breath out of us. It is there that He wants us to prove Him, that He is high and lifted up…far beyond any trying circumstance. Click here for a song that illustrates this truth very well.
“With Christ in the vessel, we can smile at the storm…”