I have been seasick on ferry boats travelling through mildly choppy waters. Therefore, I cannot imagine how terrified I would be to face a violent storm far from shore. The disciples were not like me—a wimpy sailor. Some of them were fishermen who were more than familiar with the Sea of Galilee and bad weather. They would have known when their lives were at risk. I do not believe that they were overreacting when, as their boat was filling with water, and the waves were raging, they exclaimed to the sleeping Jesus, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” (Luke 8:24) I am sure they had seen others drown in such circumstances.
Jesus awoke, calmed the sea, and “there was a calm.” He then asked them a question I am sure He would have asked me as well. “Where is your faith?” If the disciples answered, it is not recorded. How would I have answered?
My faith is in my own ability to navigate the stormy waters. My faith is in my friends and family to help me. My faith is in the storm—it is bigger than I am.
I had read the passage of Jesus calming the sea many times, and I had heard it spoken about in many sermons. Yet several years ago, my husband brought to my attention a detail I had missed--there were other boats on the sea that day. (Mark 4:36) This has great significance, because there was a big difference between the boat the disciples were in and all the other boats. There is a difference between the boat I am in during storms, and that of many others.
Jesus was in their boat. Jesus is in my boat.
He was in their boat, and yet their behavior was no different than the individuals in the other boats during the storm. Panic. No wonder Jesus questioned their faith. While it is true, they still didn’t understand the full significance of why He came, they had seen and heard enough to understand that He could control the waves. And yet the fact that He was in their boat had given them no peace.
In the midst of storms, I often forget that Jesus is in my boat. My fear takes over and contradicts what I know to be true -- that He is already in my boat, but sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He doesn’t. Often He calls us to ride it out. But He promised His disciples, and He promises us, “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20) If we have accepted Him as our Lord, He is always in our boat amidst the worst of storms. Our faith should be in Him.