Have you ever had the experience of being caught in open water by a sudden and violent storm? I have. I was on a sail boat on Lake Erie just outside Port Dover and this storm seemed to come out of nowhere. We got back to port as soon as we could through pouring rain, high winds and rough water. Talk about wanting to kiss the ground.
This wasn’t the first storm these fishermen friends of Jesus experienced but by the violence of it they knew they were in serious trouble. All this was happening at night so they had no stars to guide them. They were amazed that Jesus could sleep through the whole thing. They woke him up with the demand ‘do something’ and he did, he spoke and rebuked the wind and stilled the waters. It was as if Jesus had a one on one relationship with the sea and the wind – Jesus knew the sea and wind and the sea and wind knew him and he told them, enough, be still, you’ve done your job, you’ve made these men turn to me. Then he asked the disciples a strange question, ’why are you afraid?’
Jesus had a one on one relationship with every man in that boat and the experience of the storm was meant to challenge and deepen that relationship. Why were you afraid, don’t you trust me, don’t you know that I’m here with you and that I care for you? The truth was they did know and yet they didn’t know. Their one on one relationship with Jesus would have its ups and downs for some time to come.
Each one of us has a one on one relationship with God in and through Jesus. Maybe we don’t think too much about our relationship with God but God never stops thinking of it, as scripture tells us, ‘Before you were conceived in the womb I knew you and called you by name.’ We all have a one on one relationship with Jesus though too often we don’t think of it but he’s told us, ‘I am the vine you are the branches, without me you can do nothing.’
Maybe that’s why our lives can become upset, turned upside down by the sudden storms that come our way. We’ve all had upsetting times in our lives, stormy days, nights, months or even years and we long for things to just settle down, we long for the calm.
Its natural when we hear this gospel to think of the stormy times in our lives, times when we feel totally helpless and alone, times when we are sure we are going under. We know from experience our storms don’t go away that easily, there is no instant calming, we have to wait them out, see them through trusting that Jesus is with us. Because of our one on one relationship with Jesus we trust that he will see us through whatever storm with which we are struggling. Jesus asks us, as he asked these frightened fishermen ‘why are you afraid, have you no faith, no trust in my love and care for you?’ Maybe all we can answer in the dark and stormy times is the simple truth, ‘Lord I believe, help the little faith I have’, and leave it at that.