Who Is In the Boat

“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’ They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’” - Mark 4:37-41

I love the story of Jesus calming the storm. After a long day teaching, Jesus and his disciples hop into the boat and cross the sea. While they are sailing, a great storm picks up, so much so that the disciples (many of whom were fishermen and used to being on water) are terrified. In their fear, they wake Jesus and ask one of the most human questions: Jesus, don’t you care if we drown?

I know in my own life, when storms come, I am so quick to be like the disciples. I want to rage at God and say “Lord, don’t you see that I’m suffering?! Help me!” The storms of life are scary and I often fall into the idea that I shouldn’t have to deal with bad things popping up in my life. I want smooth sailing, as we all do.

Yet endless smooth sailing is the farthest thing from reality. No matter who we are, we will all have storms come and try to wreck the life we try so hard to hold onto. It’s easy to believe that God doesn’t care.

In the midst of this crazy storm, Jesus was sleeping in the boat, totally at rest, while all the disciples were terrified. They didn’t understand how He could be just fine while they were struggling so much. Yet when the disciples wake Him up, Jesus commands the wind and waves to be still and they stop. There is peace, stillness. But the disciples’ hearts are still overwhelmed.

Jesus says to them “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? It’s almost like He’s asking the disciples, Don’t you remember I am God, that I created the wind and the waves, the stars and the sea, and I hold all things in the palm of my hand? Don’t you know how much I love you? Do you not trust me enough to know you’re safe with me even in the midst of a storm?

Woof. How quick I am to forget the God of the universe dwells with me. Yes, He can take away a storm with just a word, but oftentimes the storms stay as they serve a bigger purpose for our spiritual growth. So when I find myself overwhelmed and fearful about my circumstances, I want my heart to more quickly turn to Jesus, and instead of demanding that He show me He cares, to trust that He already does care more than I know and I can ride the storm out in the safety of His wings (Psalm 91:4).

The storms may not stop, but we have Jesus in the boat with us. And that is good news, indeed.

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