Jesus lay asleep in the boat.
He was with his mates, experienced fishermen – he could trust them, because of this trust he could relax and have time for a snooze. That must have been a great feeling, trust in your buddies so that you are able to switch off and have a break. Everything was right about this situation, experienced fishermen, a good boat (it must have been a great boat because it has cushions in it and it was possible to have a snooze), understanding of the sea condition, enough men in the boat to handle it properly, what could go wrong?
I cannot say that there is a time in life when things do not change and pressure can mount. Perhaps it’s when one reaches a certain age. The children have grown to that age where their life choices can impact on the core family values. Maybe pressures created by work or unemployment; one is unsatisfactory the other causes deep routed financial worries. Perhaps intimate adult relationships become stretched? As it stands on the surface things look okay but underneath the wear and tear of life is beginning to reveal an edge and it is uncomfortable.
Strangely, we are not immune to the everyday causes of pain and hurt. Getting laid low with the flu happens, redundancy happens, losing a partner happens, having a serious life threatening illness happens – storms in life happen.
So these experienced sailors with storm conditions upon them reached the end of their tether and woke Jesus, they were afraid, so how bad was the storm? Bad enough you would think because they woke Jesus in the middle of a great sleep. If you have ever been woken in the middle of a deep sleep, you know how it feels!
The external surroundings had changed, becoming much more forceful and demanding. Personal resources began to fail; personal experience and wisdom reached their limits. So uncertainty and doubt came involuntarily to the forefront of the sailors thinking. Even with all their skills, understanding, experience and wisdom they couldn’t handle it. And yet Jesus slept on, that must have been a great sleep.
This is my take on the story; Jesus having been woken up looked at the sailors and thought, ‘Why are you looking so distressed, what’s up that I should be woken? I was having a great dream!’ The sailor’s response, ‘We are going to drown!’
No apparent trust in the boat, their own wisdom, knowledge and skills. Experience of a lifetime being on the sea, brought its own conclusion, we are going to drown. This can be a real feeling when the pressure is so great, so many things can make us feel lie we are going to drown.
Jesus then turned and looked at the wind and waves and he rebuked them. The Bible tells us that when the world was created it was perfect; there were no storms! This is the man who controls all of creation and I think what Jesus did was to say to the wind and the waves, Stop; I love you, I didn’t create you to be like this. And the wind and the waves stopped at the command of the creator.
As always we have much to learn from Jesus. One could argue that even with a lifetime of wisdom behind us we still need to wake Jesus and be reminded of his love for us and what he can do to still storms.
Image Credit: Garth Manthe