Jesus Calms the Storm

By Lisa Logan

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:35-41

While I was in University, I took an art history class and vividly remember studying a painting by Rembrandt depicting the story above. When Rembrandt was 27 years old, he painted Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee based on the story in Mark 4. The painting depicts the various aspects of the story very well. In the story, you can see that the disciples were in a small boat during a furious squall. Waves were breaking over the boat. They were nearly swamped. The interesting part in this story is that Jesus was undisturbed. No wait, he was sleeping. But going back to the painting, the perculiar aspect of it is that there are 13 disciples, not 12. Experts say that this 13th disciple resembles Rembrandt. He had included himself in the painting. And why wouldn’t he? He was probably able to relate to the disciples who were swamped out at sea. Can’t we all relate to the disciples in the boat?

Very likely, the disciples encountered a sudden storm when they went out to sea with Jesus. Although they were fishermen and could potentially suspect a storm, I am sure they wouldn’t go out to sea if they knew for a fact that there was a huge storm coming. In our lives, most storms are sudden. Job loss. A miscarriage. Betrayal. A car accident. And so we panic. “’The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’” Mark 4. We say the same ‘God, don’t you care about what is happening?’ We shake the seemingly sleeping Jesus in our lives when something sudden happens. Unlike us who are thrown into a panic, Jesus is not. He does not throw his hands up into the air and think, oh geez, I did not see that one coming! He sees every event in our lives before it even happens to us. Nothing throws him off guard. And when that sudden tragedy does happen, he commands the storm to be quiet. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Note here that Jesus speaks to them about their faith before he calms the storm. He is much more concerned in teaching them about having faith in him first rather than the focusing on the storm.

Having a personal relationship with Jesus does not assure a storm-free life, nor does it mean sudden tragedies won’t happen. Rather, they allow us to fully depend on him in the storm. As long as we keep our eyes focused on him, we will have peace in the storm and fully trust God in his will in the situation. Some time ago, I encountered a very sudden tragedy in my life. I had big dreams and saw them slowly come to pass in my life. My dreams fell a part in a matter of seconds and I was not able to even comprehend what was happening. I didn’t even have time to gather the pieces of my dreams before I yelled out to God in a panic. I heard him say to the billowing waves, “Quiet! Be still!” I felt as though he knew it was coming and that he wasn’t surprised like I was. The storm passed just as he commanded, yes it took several months, but he is faithful and he didn’t let me drown.

This brings me to another verse in the bible: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” I was driving in the car the other day and was reflecting on the circumstances in my life. The death of a loved one in the family this past week, illness taking its toll once again, the heartbreak of a dear friend. I was sincerely discouraged when I heard Jesus say to me, “did I not tell you, that here in this world you will have tribulation, but that I have overcome the world? Be not afraid or discouraged.” I responded saying: Jesus, I know you said not to be discouraged, but I am, because I thought that maybe, as I got older and wiser, life would get easier. I feel an ache once again for my true home. My heavenly home where you said that you would wipe every tear, and that crying and pain would be no more. But, maybe Jesus, this is the purpose. Maybe you allow these tribulations to remind me that this is not my true home.. that I am heaven-bound. I forget all too often that circumstances in my life, people and places won’t fill my heart. I forget that only You can fulfill me and give me true happiness. I realize now that this discouragement is because of my lack of trusting in You.

Pray with me:

This day, Lord, I pray that You will enable me to trust You each time a problem arises. Remind me that you are in the boat with me when storms arise. When the waves seem like they are taking over and I think you are sleeping, remind me to trust that you will calm the storm in your perfect time. Whenever I get stressed, remind me to turn my eyes to You, as only you fill my heart and give me strength. Amen