Today’s text comes to mind as we await the arrival of hurricane Ian, a cat 3 storm predicted to become a cat 4 as it barrels toward the Gulf Coast.
Jesus had finished a day of Kingdom teaching using parables. The apostles heard wonderful lessons designed to produce faith and point them to a hopeful future. Now, however, Jesus would give them a real life lesson in applying their faith.
It was evening and Jesus said, “Let us cross over to the other side.” They boarded a little boat and began their trek across the sea of Galilee, which was notorious for its storms. Soon, Jesus fell asleep in the stern.
While in the middle of the sea, “a furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.”
Fearful for their lives, the disciples awoke Jesus, saying, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Immediately, Jesus arose and first rebuked the wind and the sea, commanding, “Peace. Be still!” Then He rebuked the disciples. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
In 2019, Norma Jean and I sailed the sea of Galilee. it was a beautiful, sunny day and the water was placid and peaceful. I asked, Gus, our Israeli born tour guide, if he had ever seen sudden storms arise on the sea, such as recorded in our text. “Yes,” he replied. Apparently, according to Gus and the apostles’ fearful reaction, some of whom were seasoned fisherman, these storms can be quite terrifying.
Jesus’ miraculous response to this literal storm offers one more insight into His power and serves as testimony to his Deity. However, when we consider this narrative in a symbolic sense it serves as a spiritual directive designed to strengthen and encourage us when storms strike in our lives.
#1 Jesus provides peace when the storm of fear fills our hearts.
A sudden change in our environment or circumstances which threatens us physically, mentally or emotionally, may elicit fear.
It may be a relational challenge, a change in health, or an unexpected job change that requires moving, but regardless, we feel fearful. Scared. Apprehensive.
Know that Jesus cares about your plight and your problems. He will see you through the change and the challenges. He says, “Peace, be still.” He will calm your fears.
#2 Jesus provides peace when the storm of sorrow envelopes our souls.
When death invades our homes and hearts, sorrow is a natural and understandable response. This life is filled with many issues that cause mourning and misery. We’re never guaranteed a sorrow-free life.
However, even in the specter of death, the Bible affirms that our sorrow is not without help and hope. Our sadness is tempered by Jesus’ presence. His promises. And His pronouncement of peace.
#3 Jesus provides peace during storms of anxiety that exhausts our emotions.
Worry is the archenemy of peace. William A. Ward called worry “faith in the negative, trust in the unpleasant, assurance of disaster and belief in defeat.”
Jesus said, “Don’t worry about tomorrow”’ (Matt. 6:34). Furthermore, the apostle Paul offered this spiritual prescription for worry.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).
To the howling winds of worry, Jesus commands, “Peace! Be still!”
#4 Jesus provides peace when our thinking is clouded by the storms of doubt, indecision, and the dilemma of faith.
There are times when our values seem to conflict with a course that is less virtuous, but more exciting. When a practical decision collides with divine duty. When our intellect articulates one response, but our emotions whisper something quite different, and frankly more appealing and personally satisfying.
It may be a moral matter. A business problem. A family challenge. A doctrinal issue. Or a financial decision.
Often the answer, is to “wait upon the Lord.” Don’t get in too big a hurry. Don’t “rush in where fools fear to tread.” Stand strong in the storm and hear Jesus’ voice, “Peace. Be still.
So, today the sun is shining and the weather is calm. But soon the fury of the storm will send its pelting rain and fierce winds. Through it all, I’m listening for Jesus soothing voice, “Peace! Be still.”
You see, sometimes Jesus calms the storm. And other times He calms the storm within His child.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman