Dark storm clouds pelted torrents of freezing rain on Jesus and the disciples, gale winds whipped their boat in circles, and wave after wave splashed into them and was swamping their boat. The disciples were rowing and rowing as hard and fast as they could to get out of the furious squall and make it safely to land, but they couldn’t make any progress – they were stuck in the middle of the sea about to capsize and drown!
These experienced fisherman, burly and normally brave, were pale with panic. They were drenched in doom. And meanwhile Jesus was sleeping peacefully! Finally, they screamed at him in desperation: “Help Jesus! We’re going to drown! Don’t you care about us?” (Mark 4:35-41).
How would you react if you were caught on a lake in a fierce storm?
In my history I have often reacted to stress by worrying, complaining, or getting frustrated. All I saw was the storm and so I worried about the waves that were threatening me. All I knew to do was to obsess on how I could fix things by rowing safely to shore. Perhaps I’d say a prayer, but generally I felt like I was on my own to deal with my problems. My reality was the storm. My identity was tied up in how I dealt with wind and waves. My solution was to work hard and smart to make things better for myself.
Look at Jesus in the Storm
Then I looked closely at Jesus and saw him smiling in the storm!
How could Jesus sleep in the boat while the storm raged on? How could he be so relaxed when he was rain-soaked, chilled to the bone, the disciples were yelling, and everyone was in great peril? He and his friends were about to drown! You might think he was calm because he was the Son of God and he knew he could calm the storm with a word. I don’t think that’s why.
Jesus was also a human being. The Bible tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, including to worry and to give into fear (Hebrews 4:15-16). And he was tempted to take matters into his own hands and act on his own, without the Father (Matthew 4:1-11).
The Source of Peace
So what’s the answer? Why didn’t the storm make Jesus afraid? How could be so calm in a crisis? Because he was resting in his Abba’s arms of love.
You see, Jesus wasn’t just in the visible storm – he was in the invisible kingdom of the heavens. He saw more than the waves – he saw his Father and many angels in action all around him. He heard more than thunder and the wind whipping the boat – he heard the words of his Father. He felt more than the cold wind and rain – he felt his Father’s care.
So when Jesus awoke to face the storm he didn’t command the wind and waves on his own. He simply said what he heard the Father saying, as he always did (John 14:10, 24). Jesus faced all kinds of trials, injustices, and hardships throughout his life and he didn’t anxiously rush to fix these things on his own – instead he relied on the Father with him, rested in his easy yoke, and followed his lead. This is why he was at peace in the life-threatening storm. Jesus’ heart was full of divine peace and so it came out of him – it was the peace in Jesus that quieted the storm in the sea and the one in the disciples’ souls.
May the peace of Christ calm your body and soul and help you to rest in Abba’s arms.
“Smile in Your Storm” is excerpted from Your Best Life In Jesus’ Easy Yoke by Bill Gaultiere. All revenue goes to support Soul Shepherding’s ministry to pastors and leaders.