For days Jesus had been walking all over the countryside teaching and healing the massive crowds that had gathered to hear him speak. Although Jesus was fully God, he was also fully human and the lack of rest had started to take a toll on his earthly body. So together, with his disciples, he climbed into a small fishermans boat and headed out to sea towards the eastern shore of Gennesaret.
Not long after setting out Jesus walked towards the back of the boat and laid his head down on a small cushion to rest. The waves had been calm that evening. So calm, that with each rock of the ship, Jesus found himself unable to keep his eyes open. Like a mother rocking a baby, the sea gently rocked her creator to sleep.
But things soon took a turn for the worst, as a terrifying storm crept over the sea…. the waves that had just been gentle and calm beat furiously against the side of the boat. Lightening filled the sky and thunder roared loudly all around them. High waves came crashing down into the boat; threatening to sink it at any moment. The disciples barely able to stand, began to panic. Skilled fishermen who had spent their lives on this lake, were now cowering in fear.
Realizing their efforts to fight the storm were useless, they cried out to Jesus in despair,
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Barely able to get their words out, another wave came crashing down on the boat, almost flipping it over. Doubt and fear crept into the disciples hearts as they clung to the boat for dear life. Had Jesus forsaken them? Was he unmindful of their distress? Did he not care? Why was he allowing this to happen?
Maybe like the disciples, you are questioning why God would allow something like this to happen to you. Maybe your starting to believe the lie God doesn’t care. If so I want you to know, you’re not alone. I felt the same way and as we can see, so did the disciples.
Storms Threaten to Sink Our Faith
When the storm of grief is surrounding you on all sides, and theres no place to run, you have to make a decision… Trust God and ask for his help to get you through or allow the storm of grief to consume you.
It took me a long time to learn this lesson. I didn’t trust God at all anymore. I remember receiving a message on facebook from someone stating they were praying for me. I was furious! “Don’t pray for me!” I snarled. “God has done enough already!” Taken by complete surprise at my response the women replied “I’m confused Jessica, everyone needs prayer.” To which I quickly replied, “then pray God takes me to”
I had lost my faith in God. I felt alone, betrayed and abandoned by him. I had convinced myself that God wasn’t the loving God he betrayed himself to be so I chose to battle the storm alone, trusting in my own strength.
Like the disciples, I would soon find out that you can only fight the storm for so long before you’re going to have to call on Jesus. I had finally reached that point….. I didn’t have the strength to fight anymore. It was hopeless. The disciples probably grabbed an oar in one last attempt to save themselves from the storm.
I grabbed a gun…….
I was tired of fighting and I believed the only way to save myself from this pain was to end it. Thankfully somewhere deep inside of me I still had enough faith left to cry out “God, where are you! I need you!” I knew there was no hope in surviving this storm in my life without him. Jesus was the only hope I had. Only in him would I see my husband again. Only in him could the storm in my heart be calmed.
I had spent so much time accusing Jesus when I should have been involving him! Through this experience I learned that the most productive thing any of us can do during a storm in our lives is to ask Jesus for help! When you turn to him with the cry “Lord save us”, you will find deliverance. His love will shine through and you will find rest. Yes, more storms may come, but when they do, you can rest assured you’re going to make it through.
But asking for help is hard when you feel forgotten.
It’s important to note that while Jesus may have appeared to be sleeping, he was still fully aware of the storm going on around them. We see this when he awakens to meet the storm in perfect peace. He wasn’t surprised by the circumstances around them, he already knew. When it seems like he is unaware of the storm you are facing in your own life, rest assured he knows what you are going through. He is not going to leave you in the middle of the sea to watch you drown. He hasn’t forgotten you. He knows your hurting. He sees the tears. He hears your prayers and he cares! He’s not sleeping, he’s waiting. Waiting for the moment when you finally stop focusing on the storm and start focusing on him!
He is Risen
When the disciples finally cried out to Jesus in despair to save them, he immediately rose from his sleep and said to the angry sea, “Peace! Be Still!” In the blink of an eye, a situation that had just been filled with chaos, was filled with peace. The disciples stood awestruck rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
Who is this that even the wind and waves obey his command?
Amazed at the power of Jesus and relieved that the storm was over they turned to Jesus with smiles on their faces only to see him looking back with sadness and disappointment in his eyes. “Do you still have no faith?”
Can you imagine how awful it must have been for the disciples to see Jesus looking at them with loving disappointment. To know their lack of faith had let him down? Didn’t these men, of all men, know by now the winds and waves would obey him? Why had they been so afraid? Where was their faith? Hadn’t they seen his countless miracles? Miracles that included casting out evil spirits and giving sight to the blind. Over and over again, they saw with their own eyes, things you and I can only imagine. Yet they still didn’t really believe and if we’re being honest, maybe up until this point we haven’t truly believed either.
It is one thing to hear about how Jesus can calm a storm and quite another to actually be in the ship and feel the terror. Its in the storm that we come to the end of ourselves and see the power of God in our lives first hand. We not only find God in the storm, we find our faith.
I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
How can we really absorb that truth unless we are put in a situation that makes us doubt it?
I remember reading this story thinking, Jesus must have wanted the disciples to proove their faith to him. But I was wrong. These situations aren’t about us proving our faith to God, he already knows how much faith we really have. They are meant to show US how much faith we truly have. Will we really trust Jesus regardless of our circumstances? Do we really believe he is in control and the he can do all things- including reuniting us with our loved ones again. Do we really believe? If we don’t then the storm Jesus went through as he bared Gods wrath on the cross was for nothing.
Jesus didn’t come to calm storms
The story doesn’t end here.
When Jesus and his disciples finally make it to shore safely, Jesus meets a man possessed by many demons. Earlier when Jesus had said, “let’s go over to the other side”, he knew it would be an uncomfortable journey, but there was a purpose behind it! By enduring the storm they would be able to participate in Gods work of redemption. They would bring healing and blessing to a man whose soul needed saving. And isn’t that Gods main goal? Have we forgotten that God is in the business of saving souls not calming storms? He’s not some genie in the sky, here to grant our every wish. Yes he loves us, but it’s not about us. It’s about ALL of us! Maybe he’s allowing you to go through this storm so you can be a beacon of light for others who need saving.
Think about it, this storm was not an ordinary storm. Perhaps it had been an attempt by Satan to destroy Jesus (just like the natural disasters Satan used in the book of Job.) Satan must have known Jesus was headed to the other side to save the demon possessed man. He knew Jesus was here to defeat death once and for all and he was furious about it! Jesus was messing up his plans! Earth was supposed to be HIS domain! So maybe the storm your facing isn’t from God either. Yes, nothing happens without God knowing about it before hand but that doesn’t mean God wants to see you suffering. Maybe he is only allowing it because he knows the weapon Satan is trying to use to destroy you will be the weapon you turn around and fight him back with! For every prayer you pray when you’ve fallen on your knees in despair, another blow is taken at Satan! So keep praying, keep fighting. Because a day is coming when everything Satan has tried to take from you will be given back!
Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal glory beyond all comparison. (2 Cor. 4:16-17)