Ride The Storm With Jesus
Chan Gin Kai
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:22-25)
The Lake of Gennesaret (aka Sea of Galilee) is a freshwater lake that measures almost 21km long at its longest and 13km wide at its widest. It is well known for its sudden violent storms. This particular one must have been so severe that it terrified the disciples, some of whom were seasoned fishermen familiar with this very lake.
Jesus told his disciples that they should go over to the other side. As they sailed, Jesus fell asleep. How does one sleep on a boat that’s tossed like a cork on the raging waves? Either Jesus was really dead tired, or he was just completely confident in God. The storm did not worry him.
But that’s not how the disciples felt. They thought they were going to drown, and they woke Jesus. Did they wake him up to seek his help? No, they didn’t expect him to be able to do that. In fact, they were shocked after he calmed the storm. So why did they wake him up? It was more a cry of desperation than a plea for help. In fact, it was a cry tinged with accusation. In a parallel passage in Mark 4:35-41, they questioned Jesus, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Like the disciples, we strive to follow Jesus. And just because we’re sailing or walking with Jesus, we are somehow lulled into thinking that storms won’t hit us. But they sometimes hit us so suddenly and severely that our faith gets shaken, just like the disciples.
We question why bad storms hit good people and wonder how we are going to survive it. And we’re upset that Jesus appears to be doing nothing. We make the same accusations that the disciples did, “Don’t you care if we drown?”
Of course Jesus cares. But his complete faith that they would survive the storm, that all would be okay, made him not panic like everyone else. His calm demeanour is not evidence that he doesn’t care, but proof of his faith in God.
After Jesus calmed the storm, he asked his disciples, “Where is your faith?” It is the very same question he may ask us after our storms. I’ve got to confess that my answer would be disappointing to Jesus. I’ve been faithless like the disciples. I’ve wondered why storms hit me when I’ve been trying to follow Jesus. I’ve regarded God’s apparent inaction as proof He doesn’t care, and I’ve accused Him.
It is easy to trust God when the journey is smooth; we don’t need much faith to do that. It is when hard times come that faith is required. Will we keep the same confidence in God? Will our commitment to Him waver?
Some turn away from God when storms hit them. I’ve felt tempted to do that too. It is during our storms that we need to turn to Him more. But how do our prayers sound like? Are they angry cries and testy sighs? Are they accusations at the one who loves us so much that he willingly died for us? We can cry and we must plead, but let’s trust God as we pray.
What storms are you facing now? Let’s turn to Jesus with confidence, and ride the storm with Jesus.
Chan Gin Kai
Gin Kai is a film producer who believes in the power of media to inspire positive changes. He has spearheaded disaster relief and capacity building projects in impoverished communities across Asia. In church, he serves as a mentor to young professionals in the EDGE Ministry. He describes himself as "just a sinner who wants to get right with God".