When my seas are stormy

“You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” (Psalm 89:9, ESV)

There are storms and then there are STORMS. On the scale of 1-10, ten being hurricane level, I remember it as about a 4, maybe a 5. I’m not actually talking about the thunderclouds in the sky type of storm, or the get in the basement Kansas tornado type, but one of those rough patches in life.

I expected guests. We were living in Italy at the time. We anticipated visitors from the States like the candy and peanut butter which filled their suitcases. But, American new-to-life-in-Italy-types needed a lot of hand-holding, time and energy. The kids were sick and we had some heavy ministry projects coming. At that point, I may or may not have considered my husband part of the storm.

The amount of inner turbulence bothered me. I recall thinking as a Christian, I shouldn’t be reacting as if swept under salty water and churning sand. Unexpected frustrations and misplaced expectations had me in their waves.

I wondered where was a peaceful horizon spot of resting for my soul?

In Matthew 8, Jesus’s disciples encountered a storm. It was a doozie. They had spent a day by the sea listening to the Master teach. An ever growing multitude of people generated excitement. To the disciples the day must have been like a crescendo, a building up of a Messiah take over. They had an upfront seat. They saw His miracles, heard His teaching and lived in the presence of God Incarnate. It must have been mind boggling, heart thumping and breath stopping all together.

The crowd identified with Jesus’ stories, the down to earth illustrations, and situations he described spoke into their lives, their problems. Later he took aside his disciples and explained the spiritual significances of the parables.

A day on the beach with Jesus. I call that a good day.

Toward evening, Jesus said, “Let us cross over to the other side,” and He stepped into a boat. The others followed.

After the euphoria of the day they likely would have followed almost anywhere. They had no idea that Jesus was taking them directly into a storm.

“You rule the raging of the sea…”

The Sea of Galilee was known for its strong winds that sometimes swept through the surrounding gorges into the valley and caused sudden violent storms.

For Jesus, the day had been a long taxing day. He’d poured his life into others. He must have been exhausted. He fell asleep on a pillow in the stern. And suddenly there was one of the famous storms of Galilee.

You may have noticed. Jesus doesn’t always allow us to float down a lazy river where the ride is relaxing and sweet. Sometimes He heads us into the storm. At night.

The boat tossed violently, at the mercy of powerful waves, of forceful gales and cloud intensified darkness.

Waves of cold sea water heaved into the boat which began to fill. Fear gripped the disciples. They knew the sea well, they were aware of the dangers, but they were smack in the middle of something they could not recover from. It was all completely out of their control.

“You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise…”

Likely there was a discussion. “Should we wake Him?” “Why doesn’t He wake up?” “How can He sleep through this?”

How it happened isn’t recorded but the fact is. They had no choice but to wake Him. They were going to drown.

“Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Matthew records. (Matt. 8:26 NKJV). The Gospel of Mark relates perhaps another voice questioning, “Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk. 4:38 NKJV).

The disciples were drenched, scared and desperate.

There is irony in the Master of the winds and the waves unaware and unnerved by the elements. And we don’t see that irony in our storms either.

Jesus raised Himself from where He’d lain. The boat rocked wildly, but Jesus stood in the storm.

Yup. He does that.

The boat pitched, the sea raged and the wind tore at them. His disciples had been with Him, walked and talked together, eaten meals together, yet they still knew so little of such a vast God.

Disciples then, disciples now, are like that. We know a sliver of Immense Sovereignty, just the tiniest slice, and forget about the incomprehendible  magnitude.

“Peace be still.” Jesus said. He talked to the wind and the waves. He chided their fury.

Can you fathom the impact of sudden stillness at the sound of the voice of the Creator of the Universe?

“Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” He asked.

Faith would be believing in a bigger reality than what little we can see, the unimaginable greatness unseen.

Fearful, awed, and amazed by Him, His followers asked a question we too should ask when storms rock our boat.

“Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Who is Jesus?

“You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” (Psalm 89:9, ESV)

When my seas are stormy, when raging winds buffet me, Who is He? Sovereign of the endless seas, and commander of minute details, He still commands. Situations of life neither surprise nor deter Him.

The question to every storm in life has always been, Who is He?

Back then, eons past, when kids were sick and people coming it was true. Today in my daily grind, it is still true. I must look not at the storm, but at the Commander of the wind and the waves.

Even the winds and the sea obey Him.

He anchors me again.