We rocked violently against the waves and wind. The men I had grown to know and love over the last several months huddled together near the mast, what was left of the sail covering over them like a massive cloak. They held it tightly, but still the vicious weather fought to tear it from their backs.
“Is all hope lost?” Thomas shouted over the storm. Despite the despair that was plain upon his face, he stayed at my side to help steady the rudder. I wondered if he did so as a kindness to me, or rather if, like myself, he simply could not forfeit the illusion of maintaining control as the wet gale slammed against us and the black sky flashed angrily above.
I pushed the wet hair from my face and looked at him. We trembled together and through the fear in my gut, I was selfishly glad that I would not have to die alone.
“Should we not wake the Rabbi?” Levi shouted, having made his way aft by holding tightly to the gunnel.
“How does he sleep through this?” Thomas shouted back in hopeless frustration.
“If only we all could sleep,” I yelled back. “It would be a mercy to die peacefully.”
“We wake him,” Thomas decided and made his way to the stern where the teacher rested, Levi in unsteady pursuit. I could not hear what was said, and I could barely see the exchange, but I watched as Jesus sat up, listening to our alarm. He nodded, then stood and faced the storm with arms outstretched. I heard his words clearly over the wind’s terrible howl.
“Quiet! Be still!”
As the waters calmed and the clouds immediately fled, the stars emerged and not even a breeze remained of the storm.
How can this be? In terror, I watched the master as if seeing him for the first time. He not only commands spirits and illnesses. He commands nature itself!
“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” he said quietly. There was neither accusation nor disappointment in his words, only gracious instruction. • James Long
• Today’s story is how one author imagines Mark 4:35-41. By calming the storm and rescuing His disciples, how did Jesus reveal His trustworthiness, His identity, and His love for us? (If you want to dig deeper, read Genesis 1:1-10; Exodus 14:15-16, 21-22; Psalm 46:10; Colossians 1:15-22.)
“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Mark 4:41 (NIV)