“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’”
“He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.”
“He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”
The Sea of Galilee is 696 ft below sea level, resulting in violent downdrafts and sudden storms. So when Mark says that a great windstorm arose, it was likely sudden and unexpected. I can imagine the disciples moving swiftly around the boat, fixing the sails, managing the oars, attempting to keep it from tipping.
Then, they look up in the front of the boat, and here is Jesus, sleeping. Even with the physical presence of Christ, they were still afraid and worried.
Each day, I pray that Christ will allow me to feel his presence throughout the day. I find, however, that it’s a real effort to not let the demands of my responsibilities or the worries of the unknown, the windstorm, creep up and destroy my peace.
Oh, how wonderful it would be, I imagine, to have the physical presence of Christ by my side during those times. But, just like the disciples, who did have Jesus there with them, we sometimes try to do life all on our own, even though we know that He is there to help. We call on Him in desperation and he comes to our rescue, chiding us for being afraid.
Why don’t we get it? Jesus is with us, even if we don’t see His physical presence, He is with us through the power of the Holy Spirit. We just need to learn to rest in Him, to take a spot next to him at the front of the boat and rest, knowing that he is in control and will see us through any storm.
Lord, thank you for your promise to always be with me. Thank you for your patience with me, especially on the days where I fail to acknowledge your existence. Forgive me for failing to notice you until the storm is upon me, when you are available and ready to do so much more than to simply calm the sea. Teach me, Lord, to walk through the days with an awareness of your presence, so that the storm will not raise up around me, but will simply be a gentle breeze bringing interest to an otherwise ho-hum day. Amen.