On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow.—Mark 4:35-38a
It had been a really long day of teaching and healing. Jesus, who was fully God yet fully man, was exhausted. His disciples probably weren’t surprised when He curled up into a corner and crashed. But they probably were surprised when He didn’t wake up as they fought against the wind and waves battering their boat.
First, we need to understand some of these men—Peter, Andrew, James and John—were professional fishermen. They were familiar with the sudden, violent storms that conjured up over the Sea of Galilee. This was their home turf.
These men were seasoned and strong, maybe even fearless. They knew how to row against the eastern storm winds that tossed their boat. They knew to act quickly to prevent the boat from being overcome by the waves. Everything in their professional lives had prepared them for this moment.
But their knowledge, their experience and their confidence weren’t enough in the face of this particular unrelenting storm. Yet Jesus slept on.
And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”—Mark 4:38b
They knew Jesus to be loving and attentive to the most overlooked and impossible needs. They were confused, probably even hurt, by what they might have viewed as His apathy. After all, they were fighting for their lives while He slept.
It’s hard to say what they expected of Him. Though they had seen countless miracles already, still their minds were darkened to who He really was. Maybe in their moment of desperation, they simply wanted all hands on deck—someone to man oars or to bail water.
Maybe they wanted Him to join their freakout session, just as we sometimes simply want someone to empathize and find ourselves irritated when we instead are offered help. But they clearly didn’t expect what happened next.
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”—Mark 4:39-41
When we invite Jesus into our storms, we need to understand we don’t dictate the terms. Just as He was no ordinary man, He is no ordinary God. He is the Creator of all that is seen and unseen, and He has infinite power over all creation. He holds the hearts of kings in His hand.
Nothing surprises Him. Nothing is too great for Him. While we’re looking for Him to provide empathy in the midst of our emotional meltdowns, He is biding His time to act so He can bring about a greater glory.
He is waiting for you to invite Him into your storm. He does not simply want to take the oars or help you bail water out of your sinking boat. He is too great for that. He wants to quiet the storm. He wants to manifest His power and His grace so He can be glorified and you can be strengthened in your faith.
God is present, and He cares. Call on Him, wait on Him, and prepare to be blown away.