Across the Pastor’s Desk: Jesus gets us through the storm

Published 8:00 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

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Across the Pastor’s Desk by Eileen Woyen

I wonder what the disciples felt as their little boat lurched in the waves of the Sea of Galilee while Jesus slept. He’s abandoned us. He doesn’t love us anymore. We’ve been following this guy and this is how it’s going to end. We’re going to drown in these familiar waters.

Eileen Woyen

Human life has many storms. That’s the cost of being alive. We have outward storms and inward storms. Some of these storms we can’t cure by ourselves. We need God’s love to do that.

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So what can we learn from this boat ride in the storm?

First, we learn that storms can come suddenly. We’ve had a lot of rain recently. Maybe the disciples felt like we do. Three years with no rain and then we have it all in one month.

It had been a memorable afternoon. People had come from near and far to hear Jesus preach. Now it was time to leave. Jesus told them that they must go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

Why now? They were on the verge of success. People were really listening. But the disciples did what Jesus told them to do. They set sail that beautiful afternoon on the Sea of Galilee.

The sun was shining. Jesus was weary from the day’s activities. He closes his eyes to take a nap.

The puffy white clouds that touched the sky become ominous black clouds. The still waters churn into large waves slamming the side of the boat. The Sea of Galilee was known for its sudden and violent squalls.

You know this is true in life. Trouble can come fast. Everything is going beautifully. Life is great! Then the phone rings. The test results are back. There’s been an accident. She’s gone.

The storms came that day on the Sea ofGalilee. And where was Jesus? Asleep.

He doesn’t feel the waves crashing into the boat. The water splashing his face doesn’t bother him.

Doesn’t he care? Has he abandoned us? Doesn’t he love us anymore? Doesn’t he hear our cries? Who will calm the tempest? Who will wipe our tears? Who will soothe our fears?

Storms can come suddenly, and they can make you lose direction.

That’s the second thing we learn from this boat ride — we can lose direction.

Many of these disciples were experienced fishermen. They had been in storms before. So, what made this storm different?

Jesus was in the boat. He was sleeping.

“Teacher don’t you care if we drown? Are you just going to sleep there or are you going to help? Get up and grab an oar Jesus!”

It is at this moment that the unexpected happens: Jesus gets up — not to grab an oar. He calms the storm. And this is why the disciples are terrified. This ferocious storm frightened the disciples.

They need everyone to pitch in but Jesus rebukes the storm, “Quiet. Be still!”

The disciples are stunned. They are looking for human help. What they got was divine help! They were looking for a hand. What they got was God!

Let me ask you: Which would you fear more? The storm? Or the one who controls the storm? It is here that they lose direction.

Jesus asks, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” He could have added—“Do you still not understand who I am?”

They were frightened during the storm but after the storm they were terrified. Why? Because he, the Messiah, was in the boat. Their real problem is not the storm outside but the storm of doubt inside.

Where do you turn in the midst of the storm? When we find ourselves sinking in the midst of the storm, where else are you going to go but to God?

When you find yourself in the midst of a storm and the boat is sinking, turn to Jesus. Where else can you go? Only Jesus has the words of eternal life. Only Jesus can calm the tempest within and without.

Only God delivers.

Storms can come suddenly. They can make you lose direction. If we do not understand who is in the boat with us, then our fear of the storm has the power to paralyze.

Just like the disciples, we have the promise of God’s presence. In the midst of the storm, God will be in the boat with you. You need not panic, though the situation may seem bleak. The

Lord of Life is in the boat with you. You need not give up. The Lord of history is in the boat with you. God promises that even when you cry out, you are not abandoned. Even when you feel the most alone, God’s love is never far away.

Will the clouds scatter immediately? Probably not. Will you no longer have to struggle? That’s never promised.

Well, that doesn’t sound that great, you might say. Perhaps not.

But it got Noah through the storm. It got the Jews through the wilderness. It got Mary through her pregnancy. It got Jesus through the crucifixion. And it is more than sufficient to get you through the night.

Eileen Woyen is pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church in Albert Lea and First Lutheran Church in Glenville.