Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” … A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” [Mark 4:35,37-38 (MSG)]
They were sailing in the Sea of Galilee, a body of water notorious for sudden violent storms. At least four of the disciples were fishermen; did none of them question Jesus about the possibility of squalls or rough waters? Jesus, being God and omniscient, surely knew a storm was brewing and yet He told the men to take the boat across the sea. As the squall came rolling in, the disciples fought the waves. While they frantically reefed the sails and bailed water, Jesus calmly slept on a cushion in the boat’s stern. To the terrified disciples it seemed as if He didn’t care that they were going to drown.
In another Sea of Galilee incident, Jesus sent the disciples across the lake while He stayed back and prayed in the hills. A storm arrived when the boat was several miles from shore. While the men struggled to keep the boat afloat as it was being battered by waves, I wonder if they felt abandoned by their teacher. Jesus suddenly appeared and, while walking on the water, came toward them. Instead of being relieved by his presence, the disciples, sure they were seeing a ghost, were terrified. Yet, again, Jesus calmed the storm.
Sometimes it seems as if God sends us into troubled waters and then abandons us; other times it seems as He’s sleeping on the job while we’re struggling to keep afloat. Rest assured; He’ll never abandon us. He always knows what’s happening and how the story will end. Jesus awoke and calmed the storm for the disciples and God will calm our storms, provide a life preserver or teach us to swim. While we might not be able to walk on water as did Peter, God will empower us to walk through the troubled waters of life. Although smooth sailing is not guaranteed, God’s presence in the storms is!