Jesus Calms OUR Storms
And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. (Matthew 8:6)
Jesus and his disciples were in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee when suddenly they were caught up in a storm. In our minds we can probably imagine the thunder and lightning, gusting winds, and giant waves crashing into the boat. Jesus, meanwhile, was asleep through it all.
The disciples wake Jesus. "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" We can practically hear the fear in their voices. Imagine, the whole movement coming to such a tragic end out in the sea!
Jesus awakes, questions their faith, and calms the storm. The disciples, who had already witnessed Jesus do so much are even more amazed at his power.
It is a nice story. It's made for some great works of art. I find Rembrandt's "The Storm on the Sea of Galilee" to be especially moving. All that said, I don't believe it really happened.
I know, I know, blasphemy! How dare I doubt a story in the Bible? Maybe I've been studying too much of that CRT - Critical Religious Theory. It has corrupted my mind.
Maybe I shouldn't say I don't believe it happened. Maybe I should say it doesn't matter to me if it really happened. I imagine something happened. These are mostly fishermen, after all, so not surprising to see them in a boat. And they did cross the sea a few times where reportedly sudden storms are not uncommon. So yes, it could well be that they were once caught in such a storm. And it could well be that Jesus slept through it. When I was a kid, we had a tornado take down some trees not far from our house and I slept through it. Now, did Jesus wake up and rebuke the storm and calm the winds? Meh.
That's not the point. So what if Jesus did have the power to calm a storm? What does that do for me today? Michael Jordan could do amazing things with a basketball and was fun to watch but didn't make my life any better.
For me, the point is we all get caught up in storms from time to time. Life doesn't always go our way. Bad things happen. And sometimes this can be pretty frightening. I do it find it calming, reassuring, encouraging to know I am not alone in life's storms. Calling upon God's presence may not always calm the storm, but it often does calm me. That presence, that Spirit, helps me navigate my way through.
Many people seem to think they have to believe everything the Bible says literally. That causes some to miss the point and others to reject the faith entirely. Let's take the stories for what they are - stories written long ago by a people trying to understand what it means to live in relationship with a power greater than ourselves which we call God. Any story that helps me live more fully into that relationship is true, whether it happened that way or not.