Recently I was reading the passage where the disciples are freaking out because a tumultuous storm is threatening to overtake their boat (Mark 4:35-41). The devotional I was using, Journey with Jesus, invited me to picture where Jesus was in the situation and how I felt about where he was in the scene.
In my imagination I saw Jesus where he is described, sleeping in the hull of the boat. Everyone else is freaking out … eyes shut, they are hanging on for dear life, frantically grabbing the rigging of the boat so the sail doesn’t tear, puking their guts out over the side of the boat because of motion sickness. And Jesus is sleeping; I picture him and I am shocked and angry. Why isn’t he freaking out too?! And I ask the same question the disciples do: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” His slumber feels like an affront to all that swirls around me in life.
There are many things about this past year that have made me feel like I’m drowning – health struggles that I just can’t seem to get over, grief over the addictions that have taken over once dear friends, an energetic and demanding preschooler who seems to rage like a storm if the cinnamon isn’t sprinkled correctly on his yogurt, and deadlines to finish the manuscript for the book I’ve been writing. I often feel like I’m drowning and I respond so similarly to the disciples; I grab at what I can to try and control the situation. I close my eyes and cover my ears and try to escape from the storm (if yoga, red wine and binge-watching a series on Hulu counts as escape). I often forget that Jesus is right there with me in the storm, not looking down from heaven telling me to hang in there, but right there with me in the boat.
As I read the passage once again and hear Jesus’ words to the disciples, they sink into my heart too: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” And with a single command Jesus quiets the furious storm. The disciples are awestruck. And so am I.
Throughout the day as I reflected on this passage I was moved that Jesus has power not only over the fear in our hearts but the external situations that make us feel like we’re drowning. Jesus asks the disciples, and us, two simple questions “Why are you so afraid?” and “Do you still have no faith?” These two questions help us to put things back in focus to where we place our faith. In our own power? Or in Jesus, the one who is able to control even the wind and the waves.
Jessica Leep Fick is a writer and evangelist for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Her first book, Beautiful Feet: Unleashing Women to Everyday Witness, is due out in August with InterVarsity Press. She lives in Cleveland, OH with her husband and two sons where they frolic on the shores of the Great Lakes and listen to classic rock. She blogs at www.jessicafick.com.