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).
Words spoken once to wind and waves come now to storm-tossed souls: “Be still!” It wasn’t a suggestion to those forces of nature. It was a command. Wind and waves recognized that voice. It was their Master. Instantly, they obeyed. So, should we. Not out of fear. Out of trust. Those words bring blessed assurance.
Nature on a rampage can shatter one’s peace of mind. It certainly did for those disciples caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. We are told it was a “furious squall.” Waves began breaking over the boat. They were in danger of being swamped. And Jesus was sleeping! “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Maybe we would have asked the same. Maybe we have already done so in the past when troubles washed over our lives. Wrong question! Bad question. It springs from doubt, not faith.
We don’t know exactly what the disciples expected Jesus to do, but they did want him to do something. They knew he could work miracles. They had seen his words had power. To a leper, Jesus had said: “Be clean!” and he was. (Mark 1:41) To a paralytic, Jesus had said: “Get up, take your mat and go home.” and he did. (Mark 2:11) To the man with a shriveled hand, Jesus had said: “Stretch out your hand.” And it was completely restored. (Mark 3:5)
Maybe more astonishingly, when an evil spirit asked, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!“ Jesus said, “Be quiet!” “Come out of him!” And he did! We hear: “The demon shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.” (Mark 1:24-26). The disciples had seen the evidence; had heard the cry of the demon, and had witnessed the power behind the words of Jesus of Nazareth.
They knew the Holy One of God was with them. He was sleeping in their boat! So, why the panic? They knew what he could do. They were not sure what he would do. And, we are in the same boat.
We have seen the evidence identifying Jesus as the Son of God and Savior of the world. We have read the testimonies of people who have seen the risen Jesus with their own eyes. We have heard Jesus say, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
That’s the kind of disciple we are. The Holy Spirit has worked the miracle of faith in our hearts. With the Apostle Peter, we say to Jesus, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!” (Matthew 1616) And yet—and yet—we sometimes find ourselves wondering, “Don’t you care about us?” Like those disciples, we sometimes expect that if Jesus did care about us, he would act quickly to help us. When he does not, we are tempted to wonder, “Is he sleeping?” “Doesn’t he care?” Shame on those disciples! Shame on us. How dare we doubt him! Holy words ring in our ears: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).
He never promised to keep us untouched by a storm. He has not promised to keep a virus from attacking our body. He surely has never said we would never die. He has promised to make certain that we are safe in his hands no matter what. Finally, he will bring us back from death. He will land us safely on heaven’s shore. The nail prints in his hands testify to the certainty of that. When he bids us, “Be quiet! Don’t be afraid!” our soul recognizes the voice of the all-powerful, loving Lord.
And we can know: “All is well!”
The words of the hymn become our own:
Be still, my soul; the LORD is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change, he faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; your best, your heavenly friend,
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer-WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military