A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:37, 38)
It was a traumatic event. Lives were in peril on the sea—on the Sea of Galilee. Some in the boat were experienced seamen. They knew when it was time to be afraid. They felt, “That time is now!” It was a squall, a furious squall. It wasn’t a hurricane. But for the occupants of that boat, it might just as well have been. They were facing death.
Probably, some were straining at oars to keep the prow into the wind. Others were, no doubt, frantically bailing to keep the boat from sinking. It was an “All hands on deck!” time.
But not everyone aboard was fighting to survive. One was sleeping. They woke him up with the rebuke. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Of course, he did. He was in the same boat with them. But there was a major difference. Jesus wasn’t worried.
That’s the difference between the Lord of life and those who look to him for help.
Jesus never worries. That doesn’t mean he is never troubled. As a true human, he shared our emotions. As true God, he could see dangers hidden from us. He could read hearts. What he saw there is what often troubled him. “He was troubled when he saw Mary weeping over the death of her brother, Lazarus.” (John 11:33)
He was troubled when he told his disciples, “I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me” (John 13:21). He was troubled when he poured out his heart to his heavenly Father while in the Garden of Gethsemane. But he wasn’t worried. We hear him say, “Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ’Father save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour” (John 12:27). He was troubled by seeing the damage that sin was causing his creation—especially the pain that was searing human hearts.
A furious squall was not troubling. Weather posed no threat—not to the Son of God.
But what about those in that boat who did not have divine powers? Were they not at the mercy of the storm?
They were at the mercy of God.
Just as we always are.
Like those disciples, usually, we don’t see Jesus doing anything to protect us. We don’t see the angel squads he deploys. We don’t see how often he blocks demonic attacks. We don’t see the holy blood that covers our sins.
We do not see this because we cannot yet see beyond the boundaries of time and space.
Would that storm have stopped if Jesus had remained asleep? It surely could have. His human side might have been sleeping, but he remained the constant Ruler of all things great and small. The command, “Quiet! Be still!” was for the benefit of the disciples—and us. He showed forth his glory to address human weakness of faith.
Jesus wasn’t worried.
Nor should we be.
We sing: “Be still, my soul;
the waves and wind still know
His voice who ruled them
while he lived below.” Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military