Years ago… I sat in my minivan in the Target parking lot and sobbed after a particularly intense battle with a strong-willed child.
Why hadn’t God changed me, made me more patient? Why hadn’t God eased this constant turmoil? Why hadn’t God repaired what was broken in our relationship?
“Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
That’s what Jesus’ disciples asked him that night they were in a boat with him and the storm was closing in (Mark 4:38). And that’s how I felt that night in the parking lot.
I have been captivated by this story for several years now. I think it’s because I see myself and my own story reflected in it so clearly.
Here’s the whole story, told in the gospel of Matthew (New Living Translation):
Jesus Calms the Storm
23 Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. 24 Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
27 The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!”
Do you have (or have you had) a storm in your life that pulls you down, that threatens to overtake you?
I know I have. And I’ve often wondered why God has even allowed the storm to begin with. (or taken it away after I’ve prayed about it the first time, or the tenth time, or the 100th time)
I think this story – and, by the way, it’s told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke – has so much we can learn from! Why did God send that storm? He’s in control of all things, his son was in that boat and wanting to cross over the lake – so what was the point of the storm?
Four things I have come to understand after reading and praying and pondering:
The storm gives Jesus an opportunity to display His power.
The storm allows us a front-row seat to be amazed by Jesus.
The storm increases our trust and faith in Jesus.
And the storm helps us learn to turn to Him when we are afraid.
One of the things I think is so cool about being able to read this story from the perspectives of three different writers is that there are different nuances emphasized in each. Mark, for example, says the disciples didn’t only declare that they were going to drown, but they also asked Jesus if he even cared that they were going to drown!
Isn’t that the way it is sometimes? Not only are we afraid for the outcome (and at least in my life I assume the outcome is going to be the very worst!), but we are also afraid that Jesus doesn’t even care – that he’s abandoned us.
Jesus, don’t you care?
Haven’t you felt that way at some point?
Here’s the good news: the answer is always yes. A resounding yes.
We just don’t always see the bigger picture.
But we must cling to what we know is true – God is good. He is faithful. He is with us always. His plan for us is good. He is in control. He loves us deeply. Our knowledge and wisdom is limited, but His is not.
Nehemiah 9:17 “But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love.”
and words straight from the mouth of Jesus,
“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
May we lean into the lessons he is teaching because we know His awesome goodness, faithfulness, and love. And may we remember that the waves and wind still know his name.