Today I’m honored to welcome my friend Natalie Guy. Because I’ve been known to face my own internal storms (don’t we all, at one time or another?), I’m especially glad to read her tender words of grace today. Enjoy.
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!”
An unexpected storm blew in, a furious squall, and the disciples did not know what to do. The Sea of Galilee is well known for its sudden, violent storms. The severity of this storm is shown by the reaction of the disciples. Several of the disciples were experienced fishermen on this very lake, and they were frightened and feared perishing in this storm. Isn’t that how it is when storms blow into our life out of nowhere? A sudden illness, a broken appliance, a lost job, a cancer diagnosis, a huge medical bill, or death of a loved one, come at us like a hurricane and we are at a loss. We want Jesus to help bail us out of the boat because we don’t want to ride out the storm. We are frightened and we panic. We demand that Jesus do something, anything to get us out of treacherous waters.
If we look at the text carefully we see that Jesus told the disciples they would go over to the other side before the storm occurred. He made a promise to the disciples. He didn’t say, “Let’s drown in the middle of the Galilee.” He had spoken already that they would cross to the other side, which is why He rebukes them for having no faith. Jesus wants to know why they didn’t face the storm victoriously. Storms are guaranteed to come, but our response to them is where our faith is tested, grown, and shaped.
There are five lessons we can learn from this story and apply to our own lives when the storms come.
- Followers of Jesus will experience storms. We are not promised an easy life, but we trust in the One who holds our lives in His hands. John 16:33 “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
- Don’t panic if Jesus is silent. Even though Jesus was sleeping during the storm, He was very much aware of what was going on there. He was still in control. He was right there beside the disciples during the storm. He never left the boat! Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
- Cry out for help. Yes, the disciples panicked, but they did wake Jesus and ask for His help. We serve a God who can handle anything! Jeremiah 32:27 “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”
- Remember that God is greater than the roar of the raging water and the mighty waves of the sea. Psalm 107:28-29 “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” He is a mighty God!
- The disciples followed Jesus. When Jesus got into boat, so did the disciples. We need to do the same. We follow Him wherever He takes us, even if it is to a scary place. We follow Jesus, we listen for His voice, and we trust Him. John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
It is much easier to trust God when the sun is shining than to trust Him when the storm is raging all around us. Our faith is tested in the storm, but we have to remember who steers the ship, who calms the seas, who is in control, who sits beside us as the waves crash all around. We dare to trust Him right in the middle of our storms and He will deliver us safely to the other side.
Natalie is a pastor’s wife, teacher, speaker, writer, and mom of three. She loves traveling, cooking, walking on the beach, champagne, and European chocolate. She believes life is meant to be lived with passion and purpose and writes at EverydayNatalie.com about sharing the everyday joys and struggles of life.