Before Jesus walked on the water, there was another storm on the Sea of Galilee—one both chilling and thrilling. Here is the hardest part of that account, from Mark 4, “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” (vv. 37–38, emphasis added).
The disciples believed they were about to drown in this “furious squall,” and Jesus is asleep? Do you ever wonder about that? The disciples must have experienced some serious confusion here. How tired is he? Does he really not know what’s happening here?
Sometimes it seems that Jesus “sleeps” through some of our cyclones as well, especially when they go on for years. How do we understand this?
There’s a precious truth here we cannot miss. Yes, Jesus is fully God. That day, before they crossed the sea, Jesus had spent the entire day teaching a massive crowd the words of God. But he is also fully man. He spent himself completely for the thousands who gathered to hear him. He slept in that pitching boat because he had given all his strength.
Jesus came as one of us! He took on our flesh and blood and lived under the same conditions as we do. He was hungry, thirsty, exhausted. Jesus was literally in the same boat with us. He knows us. He understands the frailty of our flesh, the limits of our bodies and souls.
That night, in that sea crossing, Jesus was “in the same boat” as the twelve frightened men. When the disciples finally woke Jesus and questioned his care, he responded by questioning their faith. Why did he chide them for having such small faith? Because Jesus was with them. He didn’t leave the boat. Neither will he abandon you. Ever.
The disciple who suffered more imprisonments, beatings, and persecution than any of the other disciples knew about this. Even through the worst afflictions, Paul knew that Jesus was always with him, and that Jesus loved him completely. He wrote:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (romans 8:35, 37–39)
Knowing that Jesus is with us strengthens our faith and faith leads to peace. Whatever storm you’re in right now, Jesus is with you in it. Nothing can remove either his presence or his love for you.