That day when evening came, [Jesus] said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 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!”
I’ve never been on a boat in a storm at sea. I imagine few have or want to. It’s amazing what the sea can do. It gives life, takes life, and can drastically change your life if you’re one of the few who’ve experienced it’s hurricane strength and lived to tell the story.
We’ve all heard at least one analogy comparing life’s seasonal disturbances to a “storm” — when life becomes chaotic, dark, hostile and disorienting. And the Bible frequently mentions these storm analogies as periods of need for God’s shelter as we face the threats of our fallen world
“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven” (Ps 107: 28-30).
“For You have been a strong-place for those who could not help themselves and for those in need because of much trouble. You have been a safe place from the storm and a shadow from the heat” (Is 25:4).
“You are strong, Lord, and always faithful. You rule the stormy sea. You can calm its angry waves” (Ps 89:9).
And how could we forget when God actually spoke out of the storm to Job during his tremendous trials (Job 38:1).
Life’s storms, just like actual sea storms, have the power to crush us. Or at least it certainly feels that way when we are in the midst of the chaos and contradictions, the darkness and the disorientation. I’ve been there recently. I’ve felt the waves crash against me, I’ve seen the darkness move in, I’ve heard the thunder’s deafening roar.
Lately, I’ve felt like I’m on a small raft in a sea storm just like the disciples. But I’ve tried to keep in mind that Jesus is with me. He is Lord over the storm and has the power to calm it. He is shelter from the storm, in that He sits with us in our little boats as the waves and the gale force winds of life collude against us. And God can even use the storm to speak to us as He did to Job in his darkest hour.
When I sense Jesus’ presence and remember that He is my shelter in the storms of life, I know that I am safe with the One who never fails. I know Jesus can calm the storm and that He will, eventually. Until then, Jesus’ presence calms our hearts and teaches us what it means to be faithful like Him when He faced the cross. And when we begin learning trust and faithfulness during the storms of life in Jesus’ presence, God indeed is speaking through the storm, turning the waves into ways of deeper trust.
And that was Jesus’ point to his disciples that day: “Have faith. Trust in me. I’m stronger than the strongest of storms. I will ride the waves with you until the calm. We will face the storm together and live to tell the story.”