When I was a youth pastor I would borrow my parent’s boat and take students to the lake for a day of cruising, kneeboarding, skiing, and tubing. These trips were great because they were smaller numbers of kids so it is was easier to connect and build those important relationships.
Actually, these trips were great because there was something really therapeutic about taking that middle school boy who had caused so much trouble in my life on a little action-packed tube ride! :) Don’t worry parents, hanging on with all their might while I flew them around the lake was probably the first time your middle schooler had talked to God in a long time!
This one time still haunts me though. We were stuck in the middle of the lake, a broken boat, my wife and I, and a bunch of middle school girls yelling. You see, the tube rope had gotten caught in the propeller. We couldn’t go. If we tried to go it would just tighter around the propeller and risk locking it up.
So, I jumped in the water and tried with all my might to blindly cut the rope with an old rusty pocket knife we had found. Everything was going alright until that storm came. You guys know that storm. It’s the one that has crazy lightning and high winds. The one you like to watch from inside the house or under a porch. Yeah, it was coming quickly.
I couldn’t show the fear that was starting to build up. Remember I was in the water cutting a rope. I moved into action hero mode. The students were freaking out and yelling. It was a good time for all! :)
With no time to spare we got the rope cut and booked it out of there!
It reminds me of this time something similar happened to the disciples. They were on a boat in the middle of the water and a crazy storm came crashing down on them. I can imagine them scrambling around the boat with urgency trying to paddle as fast as they can to get to safety.
Meanwhile, in the back of the boat, Jesus was asleep- seemingly without a care in the world. Out of options, the disciples shook Jesus to wake him and Jesus’ first words are, “Don’t be afraid.”
Then he stands up and tells the storm and be calm….and it does.
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Mark 4:39
Dang. I’ve always wondered what happened after that moment. Does he just go back to sleep? Like, how do you transition out of that moment?
This is one of the first times the disciples see Jesus for who he really is. It’s such a big moment for them. It’s the moment they recognize Jesus is a little bigger than they had originally thought. I wonder how they felt?
With the right lens, this moment should be really big for us as well. First, it’s more evidence that Jesus is who he claimed to be. Second, just as Jesus was with them, he’s also with you.
There are going to be storms in your life. Storms that cause you to frantically run about pulling ropes and trying to paddle to safety. They could be storms of sickness, financial storms, relational storms, storms of depression, or some other storm that I can’t even imagine. In the middle of the storm go to Jesus. Talk to him. I think he’ll say the same thing he had said to the disciple, “Don’t be afraid.”
In the middle of those traumatic events, know you’re not alone. You have a God that’s not just watching from the safety of the shoreline, but actually in the boat with you. He feels every rock of the boat, every splash of water, and hears every clap of thunder, and yet he stands up and declares, “Don’t be afraid. I am with you. I haven’t left. You are not alone.”