Today’s readings include many parables that Jesus used to teach the large crowds gathered to listen to him.  At the end of an entire day of teaching, likely because he was exhausted and wanted to get away from the crowds, Jesus told his disciples that he wanted to go to the other side of the lake, so they set out in their boat.  Jesus promptly fell sound asleep.  As they were crossing, a violent windstorm came up and the boat started filling with water.  We get the impression that the disciples were terrified.  This is particularly significant because these guys were certainly not wimps; these were seasoned fisherman-- nearly as at home in a boat as they were on land.  They would have dealt with storms hundreds of times and would certainly have known how to handle the usual squalls that came up on the Sea of Galilee.  But, as the waves were breaking into the boat and it was nearly swamped, they apparently became panicked (and maybe a bit angry) and woke Jesus up, saying, “Don’t you care that we are about to die?”  Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and the furious waves, and it immediately became calm.  Then he rebuked his disciples, “…do you still have no faith?”

Do you think these disciples, who had been following Jesus for some time, who had heard his teaching and seen Him perform miracles repeatedly, and who knew that Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, really did not believe Jesus could save them from this storm? Unlikely. I think that they probably did not doubt His power and ability to save them, but more likely they doubted His awareness of and caring for their need in what was a dire situation.  Why did He not help them? Why was He not attentive to them? Why, Lord, why? Didn’t He care?

As I think about this incident, I can’t help but realize how I also, in the middle of some of life’s “storms”, can be inclined to think that Jesus is not aware of or is not attentive to my needs; He may not seem to care in my storm. Just like the disciples, I “still have no faith”. I do not doubt His power and ability to act on my behalf, but I can wonder if He truly cares for my need.  I believe Jesus allowed his disciples to experience this storm not only so that they might understand a little more clearly who Jesus the Messiah really was, but also so that they would grow in their trust in Him. This raging storm put them in the desperate position where their acumen as skilled boatmen was severely tested and they could only call on Jesus to save them.  Through experiencing this storm and then witnessing Jesus’ miraculous intervention, their head-knowledge about Jesus became more of a growing heart-trust in Jesus.  As I encounter the inevitable storms life brings my way, will I doubt His care for me and cry out, “Don’t you care …?” or will I consider them as opportunities to grow in my heart-trust in Jesus?

by Marilyn Busenitz, Women's Ministry Team Chair

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