A furious squall 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. (mark 4:37–39
Those twelve terrified men tried to fight that storm by themselves. All they had was their arms and oars against a violent sea. They didn’t wake Jesus when the waves grew high. They didn’t wake him when the water covered their feet in the boat. They waited until they were sure they would drown before they awakened Jesus. Of course. Because they thought they could save themselves. Isn’t this our human nature, that we want to be strong and self-sufficient? That we want to rescue ourselves?
When we’re in a storm, we can easily be like those twelve who thought they were doing right by not waking Jesus. But our silence, our pride, and our self-sufficiency only prolong and deepen our suffering, making the threat worse. King David wrote in Psalm 32, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long” (v. 3). While David was lamenting his delay in confessing his sin, the point is the same: waiting to come to God only worsens and lengthens our suffering.
It’s easy for us to judge those twelve men, wondering why they waited so long. But remember, they didn&rquo;t know the ending of the story as we do. They were still living the story. They were still learning who Jesus was.
I have a suspicion that they awakened him so he could take a turn at the oars. They certainly did not expect him to shout down the wind and seas! Their surprise was too genuine to think they expected a miracle, at least a miracle of that size. But by waiting they suffered longer than they needed to. By the time they finally awakened him, they were sure he no longer loved them: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” they asked (mark 4:38).
Don’t wait until your boat is about to sink to call on Jesus. He is with you always, even before the wind rises. Call on him continually. And consider, like King David, if there is sin in your life that needs to be confessed. In the same Psalm as above David writes:
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin. (psalm 32:5)
David’s storm of fear and guilt ended when he called out and confessed his sins. The second half of his psalm is a triumphant song of confidence and praise. He urges all of us to pray to the Lord now that we may be saved from the stormy waters:
Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (vv. 6–7)
Call out to Jesus today, now. Let him hear you and respond.