And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” – Matthew 8:23-25 (NRSV)
Today along the Gulf Coast where I live, we have rain, winds and tornados. Even though our soil is very sandy, after 3-4 inches of rain in as many hours, flooding occurs. We also have little we can do regarding safe havens from tornados as few people have basements.
This well known story of Jesus and His disciples gives me two very definitive perspectives to remember, live and share with others.
The disciples. Many of the twelve were seasoned fishermen. All of them had lived along the Sea and were aware of how quickly a “squall” or sudden, violent storm could occur. This must have been a hellacious storm for them to be so afraid! Maybe it was the unforeseeen factor that added a layer of fear. Maybe it was even seeing Jesus asleep, apparently unconcerned about such a storm and its potential to destroy them all!
Jesus. Asleep. Asleep in a boat, in the middle of a violent storm, like it was the gentle rocking of a cradle. What??!!
Life is full of turns and changes in the conditions of the journey that I am walking. No matter how often I check the weather report, how much insurance I have on my life, my home, my car, my health, my children – this journey still has events that happen of which I do not anticipate, am unable to prevent and ofen do not react with a calm, “sleeping in the boat” manner. But there is someone on this journey with me, every step of the way, who will not abandon me.
It could be said that Jesus slept because, being God, He knew He would not perish in a storm. Jesus also knew Who had control of the storm and He did tell the storm to STOP, didn’t He? If God is all-knowing, then is He ever surprised by any event?
Like most of you reading this, I’ve had some unexpected, very difficult storms hit me on my life’s journey. I’ve known fear as I wondered the outcome. I’ve looked to God and asked, “Don’t You care that I (or she or he) may die?”
During these times I have wrung my hands, struggled to bring my mind which was whirling through all the possible awful scenarios and my desperate search for wisdom, back under control, and slept very little. Was any of that helpful? No. What was? Taking a deep breath and reaching out to the book which contains truth. The Psalms is where my hand usually begins. Pick a psalm. Pretty much any psalm, and there will be words of truth and real, from-the-heart emotion. Read a psalm. Then read another. Will a divine plan jump out from the pages? Maybe. But often I find it is the calm, the peace of a storm which has been rebuked that is the greatest miracle! It is finding my mind and spirit back into focus on my companion, my constant, journey companion that brings me peace. With the peace, comes the truths of the situation and the wisdom for the next steps.
Tornados, winds, and flooding will occur. But as I am writing this line, the rain has stopped and the sun is beginning to shine again. Tomorrow may bring more rain, but today I am thanking God for the storm He brought me through and the faith and assurance He will be here tomorrow.