Summary: Jesus may not always calm the storms of your life, but he will always calm you in the storms.
Peace, Be Still
It was a dark and stormy night… actually, that’s not entirely true. It was a calm and pleasant day. Everything seemed to be going well. Bart had just watched his new teacher just wow the crowds with his creative and amazing stories. More and more people were coming out to hear this new rebel rabbi whose showed amazing ability to interest the crowds and stump the local religious leaders. Yes, things were looking up for Bart. He had joined on with this new teacher. He knew there was a change on the horizon - a changing of the guard. The new teacher was becoming very popular, very well liked, very successful. After all, the crowds were growing so large that the teacher had to stand in boats in the lake just to find somewhere to preach from… the temple leaders would have to recognize their impact and influence.
After a day of stories about seeds and sowers, Bart noticed the sky was beginning to change colors; the soft, light blue of the afternoon was giving way to the red and orange and purple hues of sunset. Evening began to set in. And then the teacher decides its time to leave. "let’s go to the other side" he suggested. So, since he was already standing in a boat - they pushed off. No worries here. Its been a calm day, the moon is showing, no real wind on the lake. We’ll just glide across the water to the other side.
Bart considers the number of people who must be hungry to hear such a vibrant and entertaining teacher. In fact, he notices that as they push off from the shore, other boats begin to follow them as well. A little armada is formed, drifting across this wide lake.
The teacher lays down - hey, he’s been at it all day - he deserves a few minutes to relax and unwind. Bart and his new found friends lean back, watch the water drift by and maybe even indulge in a sea ditty or two.
Then, without any warning, the wind begins to rage. The water begins to break in large, violent waves. A storm has suddenly begin to wage war against these little rafts. Bart looks at Andrew and Simon - fisherman their whole lives - and sees that they too are surprised by this furious squall. Even they hadn’t seen it coming. They see water splashing into the boat, pushing them around, threatening to overturn them or sink them, whichever comes first.
Bear in mind - these are Galileans. Land-lovers. Even those who fished for a living didn’t like traveling on the open water. They’d push their boats a little out from shore and drag nets along the shore line to catch the fish closest their homes. But this storm threatened each of their lives.
Terror began to set in. Each of them could hear the squall calling their name, threatening their lives. Each man realized that this was the perfect storm; that there was nothing they could do. Some grabbed make-shift buckets and pails and began trying to throw the water in the boat back into the lake. Others began to recite prayers, best they could remember. Others were shouting at the storm, or shouting to the other boats… desperation was beginning to set in.
Then someone noticed the teacher. Asleep. Asleep? Here we are drowning, and he’s snoring? Why doesn’t he help us pail the water out? Where are all those great stories now?
Someone, no one seems to remember who, wakes him.
"Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?"
Bart looked right at him… and will never forget the look in the teacher’s eyes… it took him by surprise. The teacher didn’t react to the wind, to the waves, to the pailing, to the water… he had such disappointment in his eyes when they woke him.
He slowly rose to his feet - not as if he was in any kind of hurry. He walked to the front of the boat, glanced slightly over his shoulder. Everyone’s eyes were on him now. Even the people in the other boats had stopped pailing and shouting to see what the teacher was doing.
Then, he looked out into the storm - right into the center of it.. And he spoke. Softly, but firmly, and just loud enough to be heard. He didn’t seem to be speaking to anyone in particular - just to the wind and waves themselves. "quiet! Be still."
And everything got quiet. The wind stopped. The waves flattened. The lake was as still as it had ever been. The rain they thought they had felt had disappeared, the men stopped shouting. Suddenly, everything was calm. Everything except their hearts. Barthalomew’s, Peter’s and john’s were all beating so loud they figured all of Galilee could hear them.