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Jesus and Life’s Storms

I have been to the sea (or lake) of Galilee and I’ve seen firsthand how calm the water usually is with no waves. However, there are times when the wind blows in from the surrounding hills, churns up the water and can cause a rapid and very real storm.

A story in Mark 4:35-41 (also Matthew 8:23-27 and Luke 8:22-25) tells of a trip made across the lake by the disciples and Jesus in a small boat. It had been a long day and Jesus said let us cross over the other side, so they left the crowds and took Him in their boat. The first part of the trip went well: the sea was calm and they made headway, but then a great storm blew up and the waves started lapping into the boat. Yet Jesus was asleep on a pillow in the stern of the boat. The disciples were afraid and woke Jesus, saying, "Don't you care that we drown?" After waking up, Jesus spoke sternly to the wind and said to the sea, "Quiet! Be still!" and the storm disappeared. Then there was calm and Jesus asked the disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"

It is natural to be afraid when things are difficult and out of our control. This story reminds us how Jesus is with us in those times, not just when things are calm and normal, but also when the storms rage and life is tough. All of us face those seasons in our lives: difficulties in marriage, with children, jobs, finances, health, etc. When we stop to ask our Lord for help, He will respond and His presence in our lives can help still the storm around us, but more importantly, it can still the storm within our hearts and souls.

"Then they cried out to The Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper and quieted the waves of the sea. Then they were glad because of the calm, and he brought them to the harbor they were bound for.
Psalm 107:28-30

The heart of the story of the disciples on the boat is not the disciples’ fear so much as Jesus’ power to overcome that which makes them afraid. We can have confidence in our Lord’s faithfulness in an uncertain world. We might feel at sea, but He is always with us in the boat. As Jesus tells his disciples so in Matthew 28:20, so He says to us, “Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (CSB)
The Rev. Nicolas (Nick) R.D. Dyke
Pastoral Associate
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