Monday, January 30, 2012

Stormy Sea of Galilee

The wooden boat rocked back and forth as the waves tossed violently beneath us. Dark grey clouds threatened to swallow the sun and the wind encircled our small boat with huge gusts.

I was on the Sea of Galilee with a few of my professors and a group of friends. We huddled around Dr. Pate as he read the story where Jesus calmed the Sea. Suddenly the Bible story I grew up hearing in Sunday School had come to life.

"One day He and His disciples got into a boat, and He told them, "Let's cross over to the other side of the lake." So they set out, and as they were sailing He fell asleep. Then a fierce windstorm came down on the lake; they were being swamped and were in danger. They came and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to die!" Then He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waves. So they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them "Where is your faith?" They were fearful and amazed, asking one another, "Who can this be? He commands even the winds and waves, and they obey Him!" Luke 8:22-25

For perhaps the first time, I understood the humanity of the disciples. Being on a boat in the middle of the Sea is not exactly my ideal place to be during a storm. I can see why they were afraid. I totally identified with them as I listened to the words of this story.

I peered over the edge of the boat and imagined how Peter's heart must have been pounding when he dipped one foot in the water...and then the other, in order to walk toward Jesus in another Bible story. It blew my mind to think that I was looking at the same water where those miracles took place.

Would I have the faith to step out onto the water like he did?

The great thing about both of those stories is that Jesus was there for his disciples. When they were afraid, Jesus commanded the wind and waves to stop. When Peter took his eyes off Jesus and focused on the raging waves around him, he began to sink. But Jesus reached out His hand, caught hold of him, and said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"

I wonder how many times Jesus has said this to me. When I worry about the future, when I get anxiety about finances, when I take my eyes off of Jesus and am distracted by the things of this world. I can just see Jesus reaching down to pick me up and saying, "Meredith, why did you doubt?"

He is always there. When we get afraid and when we take our eyes off of him, He is always ready to pick us up. It took a stormy day on the Sea of Galilee to remind me of this.