Calm In The Storm
I wonder what it must have been like to be in the boat on that terrible night. All they had wanted to do was make the eight mile journey across the Sea of Galilee. Before they could reach the safety of the shore they had been caught in a furious storm and their boat was being tossed in the waves like a toy. The shore had disappeared and the pelting rain stung their faces in the darkness. Their lamps had long since been doused by the deluge; now their only light came from the spears of lightening that shot across the sky. So desperate was their situation that even the seasoned fishermen among them began to fear for their lives. How quickly was the boat filling with water? How much longer could they survive?
Few of us have experienced the kind of storm faced by the disciples on the Sea of Galilee, recorded by Matthew (8:23-27) and Mark (4:35-41). We do, however, face other kinds of storms that can have a similar effect on us. We face storms of many different kinds in our personal lives: a wayward child; the loss of a job; illness; strained relationships or a troubled marriage. There are other storms that threaten on a broader scale: terrorist attacks; political turmoil; economic uncertainty; rogue nations flaunting their ability to inflict great harm; and a changing social climate that seems to be spiraling out of control.
Like the disciples, we look for a ray of hope in the storm. A solution to the problem; someone, or something, that will deliver us and restore peace and calm. Politicians assure us that they are concerned with peace and they can make the world a better place, but history can’t help but make us skeptical of their motives. Rock stars sing to us in lofty platitudes of a utopian world where everyone lives in happy harmony. They exhort us to join their cause, but their own lives are filled with conflict and discord. Can they really show us the way? We cannot even manage the storms in our own lives. In fact, if we were honest, we are often the cause of our storms. The problems are abundant and evident; the solutions are elusive. At times it can seem as though the boat is about to sink and, like the disciples, we fear that we will perish. We cry out with David, “Save me O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me” (Ps. 69:1-2).
The connection between stormy seas and the turmoil of life is not a new one. In the ancient world, stormy seas were associated with chaos and disorder. In fact, the Bible begins with the calming of a stormy sea: “The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). And then God spoke, and by his command order and peace were brought out of chaos and turmoil. As the storm raged on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus stood and rebuked the wind and the waves. At the sound of his voice, the wind and the waves obeyed him. Chaos and turmoil were turned back, and peace and order were restored. The disciples had no reason to be afraid of the storm because the storm tamer was right there with them in the boat. The same one who spoke and brought order out of the primordial storm is the same one who spoke and brought calm to the Sea of Galilee; and he is the same one who says to us, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, for I have overcome the world” (Jn. 16:33). The master of the wind and the waves is also master of the nations. And, most importantly, he is right here with us. He is our peace and our salvation, our shelter in the storm.
So, in the words of David Martin,
Let the rain fall down from the sky above
Let the tempest roar til it’s had enough
I’m trusting in the Lord of love
Let the wind blow
Let the world give all the hurt it can
Let the evil one devise his plans
I’m trusting in the great I am
Let the wind blow
Let its mighty fury be unleashed
Let the doubters fall upon their knees
I’m trusting in the prince of peace
Let the wind blow
Pastor Jon EnrightJuly 9, 2017