Then (Jesus) got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” – Matthew 8:23 – 27
We were sure we had heard God’s voice. Not audibly, rather, my husband and I witnessed a series of events that all pointed in the same direction. So we stepped forward, believing it was God. And we followed Him.
And then things got a bit shaky. We became uncertain about how our situation would work out and began discussing what we might do if things fell through.
Even though the Bible warns us to expect troubles, I still tend to adopt this expectation that when I follow Jesus and do what I believe he’s calling me to, everything will go well. But in this passage, the disciples follow Jesus, and a sudden storm sweeps in.
My response tends to resemble that of the disciples – I panic and beg that he saves me, sure I’m going to drown.
But the One who led them into the boat is the same One whose voice completely calms the storm. He was with them the whole time.
Years ago, I was on a flight from Los Angeles to Phoenix. To this day, it was the rockiest flight I have ever been on. We hit so much turbulence that people were getting sick. Many of us feared our safety, and the entire flight cheered when we finally landed. No one was sleeping on that flight.
While it’s a completely different mode of transportation, I think of that flight and imagine a boat in similar circumstances: people are in panic, physically nauseous, and terrified.
I think that’s why Jesus called his disciples out on their lack of faith – not because they woke him and wanted his help, rather, because of their fear.
Why is it so common for us to fear – our lives, our safety, our comfort… when Jesus is with us the whole time?
But he was sleeping. It seems like a weakness, like an excuse to lose trust. Except, it’s not a break in his power or gap in his control. I think it’s a spoiler alert, just wait until he wakes up. For us, just wait until he shows himself. Because while Jesus in his humanity slept while he was on earth, “he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:3-4). He was with them the whole time, and he’s with us the whole time, always working, always purposeful.
My husband and I continue to wait for certain things to work out. But as we wait, I take note of this passage. If Jesus was sleeping, then sign me up, I want to sleep. Instead of staying up late and worrying through the night, I’ll rest because he rested. I’ll repent when my faith wavers and I become like the disciples, yet grateful to go to him when I need help. And I’ll repeat the greatness of his sovereignty back to him, standing in amazement of the wind and the waves that still obey him.