by Daniel McCabe
The Stilling of the Storm
Psalm 89:8-9, “O LORD God of hosts, who is mighty like You, O LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds you. You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, You still them.”
The boat builders, tanners and fishermen that lived along the pebbled shores of a harp-shaped lake sat safely in their homes as darkness embraced the barley fields and vineyards of Galilee. Purple, rose and white oleanders bobbed in the warm breezes along the water’s edge. The ancient rabbis said that “Jehovah has created seven seas, but the Sea of Galilee is His delight.”
The silhouettes of several seasoned fishermen cautiously launched their craft into its midnight waters at their young rabbi’s request. Jesus had insisted on making the seven-mile night crossing after a busy day of teaching and after caring for the many infirmed who initially flocked to Capernaum’s hot mineral springs hoping for a natural cure, but who instead found supernatural healing in the Rock of Ages. Exhausted, Jesus fell asleep on the boat captain’s leather rowing cushion. His sea-savvy disciples nervously chatted about the day’s events as the cool air from Mt. Hermon’s nine thousand foot slopes to the north suddenly collided with the tropical winds and waves outside their craft that flowed at almost seven hundred feet below sea level. With mountains to their west and east the seamen knew well the dangers of quick-developing and dangerous squalls in these wind-tunneled waters.
During the day they had witnessed the faith of a leper (Matthew 8:2) and that of a Roman centurion (8:13); tonight they themselves would be tested. Jesus had commanded, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake” (Matthew 8:18; Luke 8:22), but with the winds now pounding their wooden haven and the waves pouring over its sides, the disciples doubted that they would make it through the boiling sea. Jesus had rebuked and subdued a fever that raged in the body of Peter’s mother-in-law (Luke 4:39). Jesus had rebuked and cast out demons from many more (4:41). Now, aroused by faithless hands, he sat up and rebuked the raging waters with calming words, “Peace, be still!” Only one rebuke remained, for turning to the cowardly crew, he asked, “How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
When Jesus commands you to cross over, there can be no doubt that your feet will eventually stand safely on the other side. Jesus doesn’t promise a storm-free passage, but he does guarantee your arrival. Your greatest threat during stormy days is not the winds and waves, but rather your unbelief.
Jonah disobeyed and ran into a heavy storm and a hungry fish. However, encountering storms does not always indicate disobedience. The disciples obediently launched into the sea, yet they too faced a great storm. Jesus doesn’t fault them for launching, but only for doubting that he would bring them safely to the other side.
Today in Galilee the deep blue waters of a freshwater lake still roll and splash happily in a tropical sun, wordlessly testifying to the calming voice and certain promises of Jesus who assures us all of safe arrival on the opposite shore of our storms.
Further Reading: Matthew 8:18, 23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25; Psalm 148
Dr. Daniel McCabe is the pastor of Faith Bible Church in Spring, Texas. He is a contributing editor for The Jerusalem Connection Report. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.