I have no doubt that God was speaking to me—in the incident with my cell phone, in conversations with friends, and in the scriptures I read. The message is clear: “You are precious to me. I will look after you, no matter what happens. I will be your safe place.”
I like what God is saying, but why is God telling me this?
Lord, what have you seen and heard in my life that prompted you?
As I think about that question, I am drawn to the story of Jesus calming the storm.
The disciples follow Jesus into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Peter, Andrew, James and John are seasoned fishermen living in a culture that historically fears the sea. They know how precarious this crossing can be; they have their superstitions. But Jesus’s parables are changing their world view. And his miracles! Jesus healed so many people. If he can do that, he can do anything. With budding confidence they relax and set sail. Jesus, exhausted from the crowds, falls asleep with his head on a pillow.
Dark clouds appear on the horizon. The wind picks up; waves slap against the hull of the boat. The disciples reef the sail. A few minutes later in the driving rain, they take it down all together. Waves spill over the gunwale and threaten to swamp the boat. Chilled to the bone, the disciples bail water as fast as they can. But they can’t empty the boat of their panic. As Anthony Bloom put it in Beginning to Pray, the storm that is raging around the disciples now rages inside them.
The disciples grab Jesus and shake him. “Master, save us. Don’t you care if we drown?”
Jesus wakes up, takes stock of the situation, and looks at them. The disciples read his face: he’s not afraid, but he’s not happy either. He rebukes them for their lack of faith, then stands up and tells the storm to pipe down.
Then there is “a great calm” (Mark 4:39 ESV). The disciples turn to each other and say, “Who is this guy?”
What was God saying to the disciples as they listened to their lives that day? What is God saying to me?
Was the point that God is asleep, and when we are in trouble we’d better wake God up or we’ll die? If that were true, Jesus would have thanked the disciples instead of scolding them.
And if they were just supposed to trust Jesus in everything, why did he calm the storm? Why didn’t Jesus just say, “Don’t worry, you can trust me. We’ll weather this storm together”?
I am sure there is more than one reason why Jesus calmed the storm—the main one being to answer the question: “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Answer: God.)
But I begin to see another reason why Jesus did it.
Jesus wanted the disciples to have faith and trust in him. But maybe the disciples had no clue what that kind of trust looks like… or feels like. So Jesus showed them.
In way he was saying to them (and to me):
“That’s what’s in you. This is what’s in me.
Now, where do you want to live?”