“And he said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?’ Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?’” Matthew 8:26-27
My dad is one of those people who always has great stories to tell. One of the stories he likes to tell is about a whitewater-canoeing trip he went on in college. The girl he was in a canoe with was pretty nervous about the fast-moving water, and quickly decided canoeing was not for her.
In one particularly rough stretch of water, the canoe tipped over. The girl was flailing around in the water, yelling for help. “Stand up!” my dad kept yelling. He went over to her and helped her stand up. The water was only about knee deep and she’d been flailing around for no reason. She could’ve just stood up the whole time!
That story reminds me so much of the one told here in Matthew 8. The disciples are out on a boat with Jesus and a storm, my Bible calls it a “furious storm,” starts up. The whole time this storm is raging on, Jesus is taking a nap. The disciples wake Him up and are freaking out.
They pretty much tell him, “Lord, are you going to let us drown? We’re going to die over here!” Then the craziest thing of all happens - Jesus tells the waves to be still and they are. The lake goes from churning storm to glassy water in an instant. The waves recognize Jesus, the Son of the Creator of the wind and the waves, the Man who is God. They recognize their Creator and are still.
I’ve never been on a boat with Jesus when a storm comes, but I have had some times when I feel like I’m in that teeny, tiny little boat with Jesus, as the waves crash around us. Maybe it’s trouble with my friends or family. Maybe I bombed that test that’s super important. Maybe I’m struggling with comparison. Whatever the case may be, I feel like I’m in a storm that I have no control over. And that’s true, we don’t have control over the storms in our lives.
Like the girl in my dad’s story, like the disciples, my first instinct is often to flail around and to freak out because the waves look bigger than I can possibly deal with. What this story tells us about Jesus is that He is the firm foundation we can stand on even when things get crazy. He is the one who is present through our storms, who is available through our storms.
What if, instead of freaking out about the things that are going terribly, we plant our feet in the truth of who Jesus is. He’s the creator of the universe. Fully human and fully God. He knows storms. He knows us, and He loves us. Following Jesus means that through the storm, we can confidently stand in the promises of Christ. He made us, He loves us, and He will never let us drown.