A Sloop, A Squall, A Savior



The Rabbi finishes his teaching and instructs his followers to get into the boat and head out into the lake.  He settles himself down into the creaking bow as the sounds of the water lapping and splashing become his lullaby.  He is exhausted from human contact and needs to rest for just a little while.  With his eyes closed and his breathing a rhythmic tune for the sandman, his disciples chatter about the day.  What did Jesus mean about the mustard seed?  Were they to go out and gather this seed to become great leaders of faith like him?  Their conversation continued while a couple of the disciples cast out nets to bide their time in the dusk of the day.  Their learned profession casting nets into the waters would inevitably feed them tonight.   


Out of the East a rumble is heard.  The wary fishermen are all too familiar with the temperamental shifting of the wind and the rising swells that sometimes swoop down onto the lake.  They become nervous.  The small sloop isn’t even halfway across and soon this storm will overtake them.   Another rumble echoes off of the wooden mast and continues to roll out into the horizon, this time accompanied by a bright flash of lightening as the pressure of the air changes around them.  This is going to be a big storm, and they have nowhere safe to go, they are vulnerable.  The wind suddenly picks up and the idle chatter of conversation is carried out past them as the howl of this squall begins.   Jesus is still asleep. 


Simon Peter looks over at his brother Andrew and they exchange a momentary glance of concern.  The wind starts to increase the chop of the waves and soon enough the boat is hurtling forward on a rollercoaster that has everyone’s stomach in their throats.  First up a tall breaking wave and then down into the depths only to repeat again over and over.  The rain begins to pelt them with larges droplets and soon they are drenched from head to toe and the bottom of the boat looks more like a big bucket of water.  Still Jesus is asleep.  How much more can this little boat handle?  They begin to wonder this as another strong gust has them bracing for another crashing wave over the bow.  Concern gives way to fear, fear gives way to dread.  This could be their last night and that realization is evident on each of their faces.  Finally, after another crash of lightening that strikes too close to them and a roar of thunder that is felt in their chests they seek the only source of hope that they have left; Jesus.   He is still asleep, the day had been long and he was very weary from travel.  One of the disciples places firm hands on Jesus’ shoulders and shakes him awake.   “Help us Teacher, can’t you see that we are about to die!”  Jesus looks up into his disciples’ face and sees sheer panic and terror as the swell screams and tears through the boat and crashing waves. 


Jesus takes off the now soaking cloak from his body and makes his way to the prow of the boat.  He stands up boldly before the storm as all of the disciples are behind him huddled together quaking in fear.  He raises his hands as if he wants or dares the storm to strike him.  Then in a loud voice he yells out into the squall.  “STOP, BE STILL!”  The disciples witness something astounding.  It doesn’t happen incrementally, or taper away like a receding storm, but all at once everything becomes calm.  Everything!  The waves cease their rising and crashing.  The wind that threatened to blow them away simply went away.   The roll of thunder and crash of lightening suddenly disappears as if the storm has decided to go elsewhere.  All is calm. 



The disciples look up at their teacher, amazed.  Jesus stands there before them says to them; “Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?”     Then something clicks within them, and they are terrified.  Who is Jesus?  Did that just happen?  So many questions run through their minds.  But the evidence is right before them; Jesus has just stopped a storm with His words.   The air that was once filled with pressure from the storm is now filled with rebuke of the disciples’ lack of faith.  “Do you still have no faith?”  These words will echo in them for some time.  It will remind them and spur them on for years.   Their Rabbi, God’s one and only son, has shown them what faith can do.  The disciples will never forget this moment.  It will be forever engrained in them, forever a living example of God’s power that is alive and active in the world.   Perhaps, just perhaps Christ’s words rings even truer when He said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing.  He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.  And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. “ (John 14:12,13)


I’m not sure about you, but I can identify with the disciples!  I too have doubts.  I too struggle with a waning faith from time to time.  Sometimes the storms that invade my life seem to crash over me and threaten to capsize all that I am and possess.  Many times I respond to Jesus just like the disciples when crisis comes my way, “Help me Jesus, can’t you see that I am about to die!”  But the Son of God, the same Jesus who calmed that storm so long again with mere words still speaks to the storms in my life today!  He speaks to your storms as well!  How’s your faith?  In whom is your faith today?  Perhaps, if it’s not in Jesus, the storm calmer, life giver, Messiah; you could be sinking and afraid.  Cry out to Him, have faith in Him and He will be there to help you in your tempests and your storms.  “Peace, be still!” 

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