One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the time that Jesus fell asleep in the back of the boat while His disciples sailed for the far shore after a long day. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped, and they were in great danger.
To describe commercial fishermen as bikers with different machines and different wardrobes is not far off the mark. You’ll not find a tougher breed.
Some of these disciples had grown up on this lake and new it well. They were commercial fishermen. These men knew the danger of a sudden storm on the water. These men had braved them before. But tonight, these men were afraid for their lives. Like men driven by fear, they did the only thing they could do. They panicked and woke up the sleeping guy to save them!
Now, if you’ve never been offshore in rough weather, I will tell you that it drives into you a feeling of terrified helplessness. It makes you feel small, powerless, feeble, very vulnerable… and frightened. So, when Jesus wakes up and sees what’s going on, I expect Him to show compassion, sympathy, and to express comforting words to calm their fears. After all, the storm is real; the danger, looming.
But, this gentle encourager reprimands his frightened friends. He spanks them. “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
At this point, I want to rewrite the end of the story. I want Jesus to stand up confidently and command the storm to cease. Then, I want to see Him turn to the men and reassuringly say to them, “Don’t you realize that I’m going to take care of you? Now do you realize it? Good, then I’m going to finish my nap and you finish the storm. Let me know when we get there. Storm, back on!”
Everything would be just as it was; everything, except those men. They would be transformed. I can imagine being one of them. I can imagine yelling, “Dibs on the bow-line!” and fighting for the rope tied to the front of the boat so that I could catch the spray of water in my face when we crashed through each wave. Then, like a rollercoaster cresting the highest point in the track, we would plummet down the back of the wave with a triumphant, “Yeeeeee-haw!”
But, we cannot rewrite the story. We must take the spanking in this storm and remember it. We must keep it fresh, because, there is another storm coming. There will always be another storm coming. Some of the storms will be furious squalls that come up quite unexpectedly. The waves will break over the bow of your boat, so that it is nearly swamped. And, you may be in great danger.
When, in the terrified helplessness of that storm, you are tempted to panic once again, you must look to see Him. Fix your eyes on the creator of the storm. He has the authority to command it to stop, but He has chosen to let it rage against you. He can be trusted; can you be trusted? Can you be trusted to cast all of your cares on Him, knowing that He cares for you?
“Don’t you realize that I’m going to take care of you?” Trust Him. Put your faith into action. Exercise your faith. Put your faith to the test. You will find that as you trust God in ways you have never had to before, that you will come to know Him in ways you have never known Him before, too. You will discover an intimacy with God that is only found in storms. You will discover, too, that as you learn to persevere through the storms, that you become mature and complete. You will become more and more like Jesus as you draw closer and closer to Jesus.
And, don’t be surprised if storms begin to excite you and you find yourself shouting into the wind and rain, “Dibs on the bow-line!”