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We all know the story about Jesus calming the wind and the waves, right? (Mark 4:35-41) Jesus was on a boat with his disciples and then a storm came. The disciples freaked out because they were afraid the boat would capsize, and they would drown. They woke up Jesus because, yes, he had been sleeping, and Jesus told the wind and the waves to stop. “And the wind ceased and there was a great calm.”
Seriously, that story never gets old for me. But the other day, I was reading it and noticed the beginning for the first time. I should know better. The beginnings of stories are so important! But, I had never noticed the first verse of this one. Mark 4:35 says that after preaching by the sea of Tiberius, Jesus told his followers, “Let us cross over to the other side.” Of the sea, that is. And by boat, of course.
So, let’s get this straight. Whose idea was it to cross the sea? The sea that would, in a few hours, be hit by a storm that made the disciples fear for their lives? It was Jesus’. The journey was his idea.
I think we all know what a “storm” feels like to us. Maybe you’re in one right now. Life feels out of control as usual, but in the storm, you are more acutely aware of your inability to control it. That’s what storms are for me–challenging times when none of my efforts to fix, work, perfect, smile, try harder, master, get over it or get through it are working. I’m just here, in a boat, shaking Jesus to wake up and help me.
But if it was Jesus’ idea to cross the lake, he made the decision knowing there would be a storm. It’s not like Jesus said, “Ok, guys, let’s go!” and then a few hours later he was like, “Oh, whoa, sorry guys. I’m God in flesh, but I had no idea this storm was coming.” No. Just like he knew it was time for us to cross the sea; he knew a storm would meet us somewhere in the middle, and he planned on being there in it. Not disappearing for a moment and then coming back when things calmed down, but sticking around during the most scary part and eventually (it doesn’t always happen right away) calming everyone and every wave down.
He is in it. With you. The journey was his idea, so we can be confident that we didn’t do something wrong to deserve the storm, and we can be confident that this storm will not be the one that finally, officially does us in for good. If God said go, and we went, He is with us. The storm will subside, and his presence will sustain us.