I love thunderstorms. There’s just something about curling up in a blanket and watching from the window as dramatic lightning patterns the sky, knowing that you are safe.
It’s another thing altogether if you feel that you aren’t safe. When I lived in Laos, I watched some of the most intense and frightening storms I’ve experienced; I could feel the anger of the thunder, and the whole sky would light up and crackle with the violence of the lightning. Once, during the rainy season, I was cycling to the market when I was caught in a sudden storm.
It rained so hard that I couldn’t see more than a few inches in front of my face, which was truly frightening and disconcerting. I had to pull over and wait out the storm. I was shaking as I rode home, and soaked through, but I was safe.
Storms in life can sweep in with the same unexpectedness and intensity as that South-east Asian monsoon. What storms have you experienced? Perhaps you’re in the middle of one now, and it’s so intense and scary that your heart can resonate with the disciples in this week’s reading.
These experienced fishermen are reduced to helplessness and terror as they are facing a life-threatening storm on lake Galilee, and somehow Jesus is sleeping through it. As the men wrestle against the wind and waves, it seems like Jesus can’t hear their cries and is going to let them drown.
“Their doubts and fears grew stronger. Was Jesus unable to help them? Did he not care enough to bother saving them?” (Messiah p 200)
I’ve felt this way sometimes. Maybe you have too. It seems like God isn’t listening to our prayers and the storm will overwhelm us. But thankfully, that’s not how the story ends. Jesus calms the storm and brings the boat safely to the shore, to the utter amazement of the disciples.
“When Jesus woke up to the fierce storm, he wasn’t afraid. It wasn’t because of his own power over nature—he had given up that power to come to earth. It was because he trusted his Father. Jesus had faith in his Father’s love and it was his Father’s power that quieted the storm. The disciples could have had the same trust and the same peace in the face of the storm. But they forgot about Jesus and tried to handle the storm on their own. Only when they cried out to him could he help.” (p 200-201)
If you’re going through a storm, take heart. Your story doesn’t end here. God hasn’t abandoned you. He has the power to bring you through this. “His grace will give us peace. His love will give us hope.” (p 201)
This week’s chapter of Messiah is chapter 35: The Storm on the Sea.
Feel free to join in our book club discussion in the comments below!
1. How does this story impact how you see God?
2. What storms are you experiencing? How can this story give you hope?
3. Let us know how we can pray for you!
This chapter is based on Matthew 8:23-34 and Luke 8:22-39 in the Bible.