“‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing!?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?'”
Mark 4: 35-41
Listen to Jesus’ words pierce through the storm to you, “Why are you so afraid?” How can Jesus say that? Of course they’re afraid! The disciples are in a great storm, in the middle of a massive lake, on a small boat filling with water. I suspect we would all be afraid. But do you see all that Jesus’ question implies? He’s offering us the power to face anything, a power that can come into absolutely any situation we are afraid of and bring peace.
Consider the flow of this passage. Jesus tells the disciples to get into the boat with him and go to the other side. If we are going to face the storms in our lives, we have to face the reality that we follow a God who will lead us into them. There are no qualifications here either. And deep down we all know why. The times of greatest spiritual growth and transformation, of deepened trust in God, are when we experience pain and trial. But we can be sure that Jesus is the author of our storms. Every single thing that happens in our lives, if we are in the family of Christ, is not punishment, but goodness. It is exactly what we need at just the right time.
But there’s more. Once the storm comes, the disciples begin to panic, and run to Jesus, wondering how on earth he could be asleep in the middle of their distress. They wake him. He turns to the storm and simply speaks a word, and it is stilled. Peace comes where there was only wind and waves crashing over the boat. The storm is stilled, but what of the disciples? They are even more afraid than when they were in the storm. How can this be!? Jesus has shown them a bigger storm, the storm of his power, his control. Jesus creates a different kind of tumult in their lives, one that shakes them to the core. The foundation of their being is rocked. The only thing more ‘awe-ful’ than the storm was a man who commanded it to be still, and it obeyed. Something bigger has come in the their lives, and it strikes fear into their hearts. But it’s a fear that can cast out all others fears.
When we really take these two realities down into our hearts, we have the power to face anything. Jesus is both transcendent and immanent. He is both “up there” and “down here.” He is, at the very same time, in control from above and here with us, in the storms of our lives. And so the storms of our lives can now become faith-deepening experiences instead of paralyzing trials. This week, remember that we follow the Lord of the Storm.