“A furious storm came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Mark 4:37-40

Several months ago, I was listening to a podcast called “Pearls” by Kristi McLelland and this was her cornerstone passage. I have heard and read this story many times and one thing that stood out to me today was that Jesus was with the disciples when the storm came. He was sleeping soundly in the same boat and the storm did not bother Him one little bit. He slept having complete faith that His Father would get Him to the other side.

What did bother Jesus was the lack of faith the disciple showed in the storm. His disciples acted like I would—like I have many times. They called out to Jesus, in fact, they probably shook Him awake! And then they proceeded to yell at Him, “Don’t you care that we’re going to die!?”

I have to confess that more than once I have asked God if He even cared about the trials I was going through and the turmoil in my soul. And when defending my actions, I connect with the disciples and say, “Good job for going to Jesus!” That should, indeed, be our response to storms. But Jesus’ reaction to the disciples was interesting.

First, He calmed the storm, perhaps specifically so the disciples would hear what He had to say to them. Then in the quiet He created, He said, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 

Ouch, that hurts. And now I wonder, was Jesus so firm with them because they were afraid of the storm or because they questioned His compassion and ability to care for them. Does God care that we’re scared, hurting, in danger, etc.? Of course He does! Have you ever asked a loved one if they cared about you in a moment of high stress and anxiety? If you have, it probably didn’t go over too well. I bet they were pretty offended that you questioned their love for you. 

Jesus knows that we are human and prone to human emotions. I think that His disappointment was that after spending all this time with them, they still had no faith in His love. Perhaps, if instead of shouting, “Don’t you care!” they had approached Him as a child would her sleeping parent and say, “I’m scared, can I sleep with you?” His response would have been different. He would have wrapped them up in His peace that surpasses understanding after calming the storm (or even while sailing through it), and would have said something like, “I am with you always, never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” 

All that is just a guess. But what I do know is that I can feel God’s presence when I approach Him humbly and with an open heart. I have experienced His peace in the most chaotic moments. And I have felt His pleasure when I turned to Him in complete trust, especially when I had no idea what the future would hold. 

So today, I want to encourage you to practice approaching Jesus as a trusting child seeking comfort from a loving parent rather than as a demanding child screaming accusations at the One who can help them. God is there in the boat with you. He hasn’t left you, and He never will.

May trust in Christ spark restoration of peace during life’s many trials.