He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.
The boys in the boat were in their element.
Fishermen raised by fishermen, these guys lived, breathed, worked, played, dreamed to the rhythm of the lake. So when a squall came up suddenly, surrounding them with gargantuan waves, swamping their boat, heaving their bellies… they knew enough to be legitimately afraid.
Hadn’t they heard the stories?
Of men lost at sea, bodies washing to shore months later, of widows wailing beside the graves of men too young to die?
They knew enough to be afraid. Desperately afraid.
In the front of their boat, Jesus seemed impossibly unaware of their troubles. Curled up to keep warm, his head nestled into a pillow, He slept right through— oblivious.
This week, I have been just like those fishermen.
Storms threaten to swamp my boat. Hard things: squalls, upheaval, unrest. Too many things coming too fast and I feel swamped, overwhelmed, afraid.
Afraid for my father, whose body is fighting too hard to breath. How do I live and laugh and joy while my dad, this man who has been my refuge, my picture of the Father, faces agony?
And then all the other minor waves which, alone, are entirely doable, but added together, swirl into a deadly undertow.
How do I do this?
I keep coming back to these men, boys really— rough and tough, confident in that swagger of strength that comes from a life well lived.
They know it all. They can do it all.
They’ve set goals, figured it out, worked out.
And then the storm hits and all they know to do doesn’t work.
And so they panic. And so do I. And so do some of you.
But Jesus doesn’t get mad at our fear. He doesn’t slap us down, shame us, trade us in for someone braver and better.
He doesn’t even rebuke these guys for their audacious shouting in His ear.
Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically, they woke him up, shouting, ”Teacher, don’t you even care that we are going to drown?”
When he woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, “Quiet down!”
Suddenly the wind stopped and there was a great calm.
You’d think the next words out of his mouth would have been lined with disgust at these wimps. After all, they’d been with him long enough to know him as not only a miracle maker, but as a man with a message of a kingdom yet to come. Of God’s upside down kingdom where everything is not as it seems.
They were supposed to know by now that life is about more than success and tranquility and hunky-dory dreams come true.
And so should I. But sometimes I forget. And then I panic and get overwhelmed and frantically fearful.
But listen to what Jesus says,
Why are you so afraid? Do you still not have faith in me?
I hear his words and my soul stills.
There are lessons here for me, for us.
These men saw the waves and panicked.
I do that. Anything out of the ordinary mixed with a little bit of too much, thrown in with a cup full of liquid gunk and suddenly I’m sinking.
The key, I am coming to see is to trust God before hand.
To live as if difficulties are normal. To live unafraid of loss. To live unafraid of death.
And the only way to do that is to let go of my Christian bumper sticker view of life, instead, soaking my mind in Jesus’ words and stories.
Jesus didn’t panic because He lived at peace with the imperfect.
These men saw the waves and assumed the worst.
And so do I. Give me enough waves; enough conflict, enough stress, enough bad news, and I assume the worse. I’m going to drown.
Two plus two equal the end. Woe is me. I can’t do this.
But it’s not true. I can do this.
I can do whatever He allows in my path because He is in me and He has overcome all my not enough-ness.
These men saw the waves and got mad at God.
I do this too! Don’t You care that I am going to drown?
There He is, all curled up comfortable, blissfully unaware of their sinking ship— and they get mad. I mean major mad. Shouting in God’s face mad.
Can you relate to their reaction? Do you do that? Shout in anger when really you’re scared witless?
These guys knew His power, they knew He could save them, so why didn’t He? There He is, seemingly passive and unaware while their lives sink into despair. Right when they need Him the most, He falls asleep on the job.
Is it any wonder they got a little miffed at Jesus for sleeping through the storm?
But, I am coming to learn, sometimes storms are needed. And I don’t know all the reasons why, but I do know that He uses those sinking kind of circumstances to bring me in close, to draw me near.
Jesus didn’t always understand either.
And the not-knowing hurt. And yet, still He chose to believe— not in fairy tale endings, but in the great heart of His Father.
He chose trust.
And that’s where I am today. Done with the panic. No longer waiting for the worst. Believing and trusting because I’ve been doing this for long enough that to not trust Him is just... wrong.
Today I chose to believe that He is good and He knows and He cares.
Today I chose to believe that He calms my storms with His whispers…
From my heart,
P.S Are you facing some storms that threaten to do you in? Can I pray for you? I would love to hear both your fears and your trust…