We are enjoying this little family-owned hotel, The Ron Beach, right on the Sea of Galilee in Tiberias. A convenient location. Good food. And great views.
Yesterday we were able to walk to their dock behind the hotel and board a boat for a ride across the Sea of Galilee. I’ve been on a lot of boat rides in my life. But this just wasn’t any boat ride. It’s the Sea were the apostles fished. Where Jesus called Simon and Andrew (Mk 1:16). Where Jesus walked on the water. And where he calmed the storm.
It is estimated that about 80% of Jesus’ teaching occurred around the Sea of Galilee, also called Ganesaret (Luke 5:1) or the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). We visited areas where Jesus taught –The Mount of Beatitudes, Capernaum and Magdala, the site of a first-century synagogue.
As we drove around the Sea and saw breathtaking views from Mt. Arbel, I kept thinking about an event that occurred on that very body of water as recorded by Luke.
One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger.
And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?” (LK 8;22-25)
I asked, Gus, our guide if he had ever seen a bad storm on the Sea. And he said that he had. “How quickly can the weather change from a beautiful, calm state to a threatening storm?” I asked. Gus replied, “In a matter of seconds.”
Storms serve as a metaphor for the unexpected challenges we face. Life is fragile. Man is frail. Our mighty efforts are feeble. Compared to the power of the storm and to the Master who controls it.
The storms of life test the strength of my faith. The depth of my dedication. The seriousness of my commitment. The measure of my maturity. The essence of my attitude. And the content of my character.
This is true of actual storms. It is true of the problems, challenges, and troubles we face in life. And we will face them. We all do. All kinds of storms. Financial storms. Relationship storms. Physical storms. Spiritual storms. Storms of sickness, sorrow and death. Storms where sin invades our hearts, and homes. These storms are not pleasant. They inflict pain. Cause heartache. And leave emotional damage in their wake.
So, what are we to do when the storms of life beat upon us? Do what the disciples did. Go to the Master. Seek his help. Plead for his mercy.
There may be times when we are afraid, like the apostles were. We may feel frantic. Our faith may even falter a bit. But one thing I know for sure is this. Jesus provides calm in the midst of the storm. He who quieted the winds and waves, can calm the restless spirit. He can heal the aching heart. He can soothe the troubled soul.
The apostle Peter was on that little boat. He felt the spray of the sea in his face. He braced himself against the fierce winds. He experienced the feeling of fear. Anxiety. Worry. But he heard the Master’s assuring voice. He saw the Lord’s decisive action. And he knew the Savior’s concern. For them. Their welfare. And their faith. So, he would write many years later, “Cast all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”
Today I sailed the Sea of Galilee. It was a gorgeous, calm day. No storms. No problems. Life today is good.
But what will tomorrow bring? Or next week? Next month? Or next year?
As we face the various storms of life that suddenly swoop down and interrupt our routines, let us remain faithful. Resolute. And prayerful.
May I remember when the storms suddenly appear that the Lord is not asleep. He sees. He hears. He knows. And He cares.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman