Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.
The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)
The Sea of Galilee is an unusual body of water. It is relatively small (thirteen miles long, seven miles wide), but it is 150 feet deep, and the shoreline is 680 feet below sea level. Sudden storms can appear over the surrounding mountains with little warning, stirring the water into violent twenty-foot waves.
Imagine being on a stormy sea in a fishing boat. Josephus, an ancient historian, wrote that there were usually more than 300 fishing boats on the Sea of Galilee at one time. This boat was large enough to hold Jesus and his twelve disciples and was powered by both oars and sails. During a storm, however, the sails were taken down to keep them from ripping and to make the boat easier to control.
The disciples had not foolishly set out in a storm. They had been caught without warning, and their danger was great. Although they had witnessed many of Jesus’ miracles, they panicked in this storm. As experienced sailors, they knew its danger; what they did not know was that Christ could control the forces of nature.
In our lives, we often feel convinced that there is a certain “stormy” area where God can’t or won’t work. When we truly understand who God is, however, we will realize that he controls both the storms of nature and the storms of the troubled heart. Storms are often tests of our faith. Many times, doubt rears its ugly head. What storm(s) are you facing? Are you feeling the same panic the disciples experienced? What is your usual response to storms? Is it working? The power Jesus used to calm this storm can also help you deal with the problems you face. Jesus is willing to help if you will only ask.