And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”
This is another one of my favorite stories that I love to tell, especially at retreats. Over the course of telling them, I have come to understand there are certain principles at play, and although I may have spoken about these before, it wouldn’t hurt to revisit them. So Principle #1: There will be storms in life. Some people expect storms to cease when they follow Jesus, but they won’t. Principle #2: They will come unexpectedly, as storms do. You can try to be prepared for them, but when they hit, they hit suddenly.
Principle #3: If Jesus is in your boat, you have no reason to be afraid. Yes, you’ll certainly get the heebie-jeebies — some nervous anxiety — but tell yourself Jesus is with you, so it’ll be okay. Principle #4: It doesn’t matter if Jesus appears to be sleeping as long as he is in your boat. As the song goes, with Jesus in my boat I can smile in the storm. Even if he is sleeping. Principle #5. Cry out to Jesus if your nervousness turns to fear. Jesus doesn’t like us to be afraid, and he’ll probably scold us, but don’t let that stop you from telling him you’re afraid.
Principle #6: Get ready for the rebuke. Being afraid is actually a sign that we lack faith, and Jesus, being Jesus, is sure to scold us, but that rebuke will take away a lot of the fear. Principle #7: Wait for the miracle. It is wonderful to see storms end, but it is even more wonderful when they end miraculously. Jesus loves working miracles. I think that might be one of the reasons he lets storms hit us. <laughs> Which leads us to Principle #8. Let this serve to remind us that storms always end, and also serve to increase our faith so that when the next storm hits we will not be as afraid.
Principle #9. Worship him. In yet another story in which Jesus calms a storm, Scripture says that “those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.” (See Matthew 14:26-36). When the storm ends, worship our Lord, master over the storms. Worshipping Jesus also internalizes the realization that we understand, believe, and acknowledge that he is God. Which in turn leads to an increase of faith, because if God is with us who and what can prevail against us? (see Romans 8:31).
And, finally, Principle #10. You tell the storms to be quiet! Once our faith becomes strong, which can be strengthened only by going through storms and seeing that God is with us, then it will hopefully lead us to have enough faith to calm the storms ourselves. As Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them” (Mark 11:23).
I’m pretty sure you are in the middle of a storm right now. Why don’t you go ahead and try it? Seriously!