A Severe Storm
Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!”
Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts:” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass.
The men rubbed their eyes, astonished. “What’s going on here? Wind and sea come to heel at his command!”
Matthew 8:23-27 The Message
I grew up on the south end of Lake Michigan, a lake noted for severe storms, but the Sea of Galilee is also known for severe storms which arise quickly, so storms were something the residents of this area were aware of. Also, you remember that several of the disciples were fishermen by trade, well-seasoned sea-goers, experienced sailors. So, this ‘severe storm’ was above and beyond what they had experienced in their career on the water. Sounds like the storm we are facing with the COVID-19, a severe storm, unlike any storm in our lifetime.
The disciples were rightly frightened by the storm, which was swamping their boat and there was Christ, asleep in the middle of this life-threatening event! He was physically dog-tired, as were the disciples, but the storm frightened them to death, and they wanted Christ awake. Why? Did they want Him to share in their fear, or to do something about the storm? The later was their motive, for they knew of his miracles (just read Matthew 8), but they did not fully comprehend His authority, apparently not (Matthew 8:27). Do we fully comprehend Christ’s realm of authority amid today’s storm?
Their storm was real, and today’s storm is real as well, so fear is a natural reaction. Our boat of life is being swamped with 24/7 news, social media posts, conversations with frightened family, friends and co-workers and a tanking stock portfolio. As Christ-following leaders we are being inundated with daily decisions that must be made in an everchanging environment. There is EVERY reason to be frightened of the sinking boat, but remember Christ is in the boat with you. Knowing Christ is in the boat is something we believe but living out that belief is a whole other matter. He knows about today’s severe storm, in fact, we must consider the possibility that this storm is one He spoke into existence.
Is fear overwhelming your soul… acknowledge its existence, wake up the Savior (but be ready for a possible reprimand—22:26), and ask Him to calm the storm of fear in your soul. The storm will still exist (the reality of fighting a virus and its ramifications) but your soul will be calmed. Be reminded of this truth from the familiar words by Paul in Philippians 4, what I like to call ‘peace that doesn’t make sense’.
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Philippians 4:6-7 The Message
Those we lead need someone who shows a quieted life to give hope and confidence. We have the source of what quiets the soul, a Savior in our boat. Knowing Christ is in your boat requires practicing the presence of Him through abiding in prayer and Scripture input. Abiding means to remain in proximity of, in constant contact with; for fear will come at us again and again but it can be defeated by waking the Savior and asking for a calming of life’s sea.
My Savior is in the boat and I can see the shore, can you?
Brent D. Garrison, Ph.D.
By The Book Consultive Group