Who do you turn to?
Who do you turn to when you go through hard times?
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
A few years ago two of my friends and I took some kayaks to a local lake. It was a beautiful day out so we decided that we would paddle out to the back side of the lake where a rock face awaits for some good cliff jumping. We reached the rock face in about 30 minutes, jumped out of our kayaks and anchored them against the rock wall. It was go time. We climbed to the top - probably no more than 40 or 50 feet - and jumped back into the lake below. It was so refreshing after the long day that we had. The water temperature was perfect. The sun was beaming. The outside temperature was at least 100 degrees. We were having a blast.
Before we left we were told that there was a storm coming but there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. So we just kept climbing back up and jumping again. After my 4th jump is when the storm hit. It came from nowhere. When I was on the rocks there wasn’t a single cloud. In the time it took me to jump and pop up from the water the sky had turned black and the wind was picking up.
Here we were, in the middle of a lake looking at a 30 plus minute paddle back to the shore that we parked on. The wind was pushing us back with every paddle stroke forward. The rain felt like we were being shot with .bb’s. There was thunder and lightning all around us. We eventually made it to shore and still laugh about it today.
The disciples may have felt similar in this passage. They had been on this lake before. Some of them were even likely on it through the night. They must have experienced storms before. But this time they had their Messiah with them. But He was busy…sleeping in the back of the boat. While the disciples are busy fearing for their lives, their Savior is peacefully catching some needed sleep.
Eventually they decide to wake Jesus. They must be pretty annoyed by this time because they ask if He even cares about them perishing.
I will be honest and admit that I’ve been there before. I’ve been just like the disciples. The storm of life hits hard. Relationships fail. Work is hard. Money gets tight. Life is stressful. Waves are crashing and the wind is blowing. And then, “Jesus, where are you! Do you even care!”
I think that the reason Jesus was sleeping through the storm was because He wanted them to ask Him to save them. He wanted them to have the faith that He would save them. When we pick up this passage Jesus tells them “..Let us go to the other side.”, Luke 8:33. Jesus starts off by telling them where they are going. He tells the disciples that they are going to the other side. When the storm hits they seem to forget this. They begin to look at the waves and the wind rather than the promise that they were given by their savior. They go from being liberated by the peace of Christ to paralyzed by fear of the storm.
What strikes me as interesting is that while the storm has calmed, they are still in the middle of a 64 square mile lake that is over 140 feet deep. The boat probably still has water in it from the crashing waves. Jesus did not miraculously transport them to the safety of the shore. They still had to sail there. What He did do was calm the storm on the lake. But they were still in the middle. It is as if He gave them another chance. Another chance to trust Him. Another chance for them to focus on Him. Maybe even another chance to lay down and rest in the boat with Him. Can you imagine if we all took just a moment to rest in Christ during the storm?
It all comes down to focus. We can choose to focus on the storm around us. Or we can focus on the One who has already conquered it. We live in a fallen and broken word. Jesus does not offer us a life free of storms. James 1:2 says that we should “count it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds” (NIV).
We can count it pure joy because with every storm (trial) that we go through we are given an opportunity to look to Jesus. We can look to Jesus because He cares. He wants to take us to the other side. Through the storms of life.
Will you trust Him today in your storm? Will you put down the bucket, stop trying to bail the water out of the boat and ask Jesus to calm your storms? Will you trust Him? Will you find rest in Him?
© 2014 Ray Smith