On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing? Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
- Mark 4: 35-41
The Sea of Galilee is known for sudden, violent storms. The low lying Sea of Galilee has mountains on all sides. The cooler air coming off the mountains hit the warmer air around the Sea and cause storms. The most violent storms are caused by the eastern winds. Waves have been known to reach 10 feet. These storms can come up suddenly threatening those on the sea.
Once years ago, my father, mother and I were fishing in a small boat close to the bridge that goes from Yorktown to Gloucester, Virginia. A storm came up very suddenly and before my dad could even get the anchor up, we were tossed about and waves were higher than the boat. My dad got the boat started and headed toward shore.
The wind was blowing so hard, our progress was very slow and the boat small so it was not holding its path very well. My mom did not think we would make it to shore and I had doubts. My dad held on to the tiller with all his might. Eventually we did make it to shore but it was touch and go for a good while.
I understand why the disciples were so frightened. However, they didn’t really understand who it was in the boat with them.
They could not understand how He could sleep with their lives in danger. Have you ever been in a storm that shook your world? Have you wondered why God didn’t seem to care what was happening to you?
Jesus calmed this storm by speaking to it. Psalm 89:9, tells us it is God who rules the sea.
“You rule the raging of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.” Psalm 107:29 says, “He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.”
The disciples would have known this. The Psalms were their hymn book. No wonder they were exceedingly afraid. They knew it was God who controlled the seas. Who was this in the boat with them?
What did Jesus say to them? “Why are you afraid? Why do you have no faith?” Does He say the same to us when we are afraid of the storms that hit us? I think He probably does.
When we are going through a storm, this is a good passage to read. Just remember, sometimes Jesus calms our storm, sometimes He calms us and walks through the storm with us. Either way He is there so we need not be afraid.
When a storm hits:
Focus on Jesus and not the storm. He is mightier than the storm.
Calm down and feel His presence with you.
Trust Him. He will guide your path.
Sylvia Hughes is a longtime Sunday School and women’s Bible study teacher, and a retired newspaper editor. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.