Leading up to the account of this storm we read that Jesus had spent 40 days in the wilderness and then started to preach, and had called His first disciples.
Crowds were following Him everywhere, He was healing people and setting them free from all sorts of things and news about Him was spreading fast!
We also read about the Beatitudes, how we should pray, telling us not to worry or judge others, basically how we should live. Jesus was very busy!
Now here we are in chapter 8; He says to the disciples, “Let’s go to the other side of the lake”; He was tired. He gets in the boat and His disciples follow Him.
Getting into a boat was normal for the disciples, they knew the waters in that area, they knew what they were doing and they gladly followed Jesus.
While they were sailing across, with no warning, there was a furious storm!
(The sea of Galilee is known, because of where it’s situated, for sudden and dangerous storms.) I’m sure the disciples had been out in storms before and dealt with it, so I’m thinking maybe this was something like they had never experienced before. They thought they would drown.
Verse 24 says, “It came without warning and the waves were sweeping over the boat”
….and Jesus was sleeping!! Sleeping? How is that possible?
Now I don’t think the disciples went to Jesus and gave Him a gentle nudge saying, “Jesus wake up.”
I think they were in in a panic, probably shouting hysterically, “Lord save us, we’re going to drown!” Jesus woke up and said, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He rebuked the storm and it was instantly calm.
The disciples were amazed, even after witnessing everything Jesus had been doing, they were amazed that “the wind and waves even obeyed Him.”
Jesus wasn’t shocked by the storm, He knew when He boarded the boat what was ahead, He didn’t need a weather forecast.
Our lives are like that boat aren’t they, everything is great and we’re sailing along enjoying life and then wham! Suddenly we’re in the midst of a life storm! A health issue, a job loss, a relationship problem, loss of a loved one…it comes without warning. You feel like you’re in the dark, struggling to stay afloat, being tossed every which way. You feel your problems are suffocating you? Your heart is sinking? I’ve been there many times.
It’s easy to think God where are you? What’s happening? It’s like He’s deserted you and your prayers are hitting a brick wall. You look around at others and think “It’s alright for them! They don’t know what I’m going through”; truth is maybe they are feeling the same and thinking the same about you or me. We might even let our hurts and anger turn into bitterness. We’re inwardly screaming, “Jesus, wake up!!”
I have here a hard boiled egg, a cooked carrot and a pot of coffee. Perhaps in our times of difficulty we become a bit like the boiled egg, looking fine on the outside, untouched by life’s ordeals….. but a little hard on the inside.
Or, maybe, we’re like the cooked carrot, gone to pieces completely! Our emotions are uncontrollable; we can’t think straight. We’re headed for the pity party, the ‘poor old me’ time. I’ve definitely been there! I remember someone sharing, some time back, about a serious health issue she had and how she went through it, and she said something like, “….it’s ok to have a bit of a pity party…. but don’t stay there.”
There’s nothing wrong with being upset or afraid, there’s nothing wrong with asking God what’s going on. He doesn’t want us to shut down our feelings, but he also doesn’t want us to let them drown us either.
The disciples followed Jesus into the boat and when you follow Jesus there will still be problems, life crises, and difficulties. He told us that in John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world”.
In our times of distress, difficulties, troubles is Jesus waiting for us, longing for us, to “wake Him up!” To turn to Him and ask for help. I don’t just mean a quick “Help me Jesus” kind of prayer. Although I’ve certainly sent a lot of those up to Him! Are we spending time with Him? Are we listening for His “still small voice” Are we even giving Him chance to speak? Or are we telling God what we think He ought to be doing? Are we blurting it all out and then getting up from our prayers and carrying on as if God never heard and doing it ourselves?
Getting close to Him, spending time with Him, telling Him our fears, our concerns. He doesn’t want us to face life’s obstacles alone.
Don’t just pray alone, ask somebody to pray for you and with you. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, mourn with those who mourn”. Tell somebody, a trusted friend or church leader, maybe your parents, what you’re going through.
When you pray, pray God’s word, speak it out and confess it, it’s amazing how just doing that will lift your spirit.
Are you regularly reading & taking in His word? When I was at university I remember I was so busy reading for my studies that I let my bible reading slip away. My bible was gathering dust in the corner. Is that the case for some of us?
I want us to be encouraged, not feel guilty.
Is my heart hard, like the egg, or an emotional mess, like the mushy carrot? Lacking any deep relationship with Jesus?
Proverbs 4:23 tells us, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the well-spring of life”.
By being honest with God about how we feel, we can begin to process our feelings in a healthy way. Rather than let our hurts and anger turn into bitterness, talking to God helps us begin to think about our story with a different perspective — and it helps keep our hearts tender.
When we pray God may not answer the way we want or expect Him to. Sometimes we think we know the way something will go, but it doesn’t always work like that. He may say Yes, He may say No, I have a better idea, He may say wait it’s going to take time, but I’m with you.
You’re probably wondering about the pot of coffee.
The egg, the carrot and the coffee grounds have all experienced the same ordeal, hot water. The egg has become hard, the carrot has gone to pieces, but the coffee….oh the coffee….. has sent out a beautiful aroma!
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 says this, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.”
In whatever “hot water” or “storm” we might be going through, God wants us to be the “pleasing aroma of Christ” in this world.
Those around us will know there is something different about us, by the way we deal with things, the way we live.
If you’re experiencing a tough time at the moment, take it to Jesus and spend some time with Him, get alone with Him, with no distractions. Or share your worries with a trusted friend, parent or church leader. Ask for help!
He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He pours “Grace upon Grace” on us.
We need to stay close to Him, it’s up to us.