I absolutely love Matthew 8:23-27. This Gospel account of Jesus calming the sea to the relief of his panicked disciples perfectly captures their relationship, and very often our relationship as well.
Picture it, they are all in a boat, not a cruise ship, but a boat that is going to really feel the waves. A storm comes up and it’s a violent one. The boat is being tossed and taking on water. Naturally, the disciples freak out because they had just followed Jesus on this boat. So, they look to their leader, the man they had deserted their lives to follow, and they run to Him saying, “save us!” What does Jesus do? The Gospel says, He wakes up. Seriously. Jesus was asleep. He wasn’t working feverishly to steer them out of danger or frantically attempting to minimize damage to the vessel. He was asleep. Matthew tells us that after Jesus awoke, he basically told the storm to cut it out — and it did. The sea was quiet and the boat was fine. His followers must have been incredibly relieved and then fairly confused, because then He fussed at them for worrying about it in the first place. Whenever I read this, I picture the disciples standing there, dumbfounded, with their jaws on the floor and Jesus turning around to once again recline.
This scene reminds me of when one of my kids would run to me in total panic mode because a toy broke and I would calmly, simply snap the pieces back together. They would quickly realize their over-reaction to the perceived crisis and probably felt a little silly seeing how calm I remained. I suspect that once the disciples got over the shock of what they had witnessed, they might have felt a little silly too.
And lest you think Jesus was being snarky in his admonishment of the disciples, remember He was trying to teach them. He was trying to demonstrate that even when they think something is an insurmountable problem, He has it all completely under control. His sleep, his state of peace, wasn’t disturbed by the storm and He wanted the disciples to learn not to let problems steal their peace either. This whole scene is played out over and over with Jesus and His current set of disciples (you and me). How often am I faced with a problem and I look to the heavens, begging for Jesus to save me? Pretty often, I have to admit! Each time I do, my panic is met with His calm reassurance that He already has the situation well in hand. Each time, I feel a little silly after Jesus quiets the storm for me.
Ultimately, Jesus is trying to teach us not to let the storms of life disturb the peace we have in Him. Jesus has it all under control in our lives as well. If we, like the original disciples, simply leave everything behind and follow Him, then we will also stand dumbfounded at how we’ll see Him work miracles in our lives.
Copyright 2019 Michelle Jones Schroeder