I commenced penning this note on Monday evening, 20 June, at a time when the wind was picking up outside. What had started out as a gentle whistling in the treetops had become a howling through the branches and through any crack or crevice it could find. Gentle, steady rain-drops on the tin roof had soon become sporadic showers and pelting down of what must have been grape-sized drops of rain. Adelaide had been issued a “Severe Weather Warning for Locally Destructive Winds.” Winds could pick up to 120 km/h they said. Fortunately, things did not get as bad as expected, at least not in our vicinity.
As I sat listening to this developing storm outside, I thought of the case recorded in the Gospel of Mark 4:35-41, where Jesus and the disciples were crossing the lake, when a “great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling”. Being human, the disciples were panicked, petrified and perplexed! If ever their lives flashed before their eyes, it was probably at this point.
Jesus Himself, was nowhere to be found! Perhaps He was bailing out water in the stern of the ship! Surely He must have been doing something to save them; after all it was on His command that they were caught in the middle of the lake, in the middle of a life-threatening storm! BUT no! Jesus, “was asleep…....”
How could Jesus be sleeping? In answer to this, I’m reminded of my final year at school. Preparing for final examinations in Matric, I would sit up till early hours of the morning swatting, studying and stressing about the next day’s exam. When I did manage to get to sleep I would dream about algebraic equations, logarithms or the table of elements, depending on what the pending exam would cover. On the other hand, if the following day’s exam was in a subject like Biology that I was confident in; if I knew I had a handle on the subject; if I knew I was in control or fully aufet with it, I would sleep like a baby with a full tummy, as snug as the proverbial “bug in a rug”.
I ask again – how could Jesus be sleeping when a storm was raging all around; how could He possibly be at peace, when the boat was being buffetted from all sides? I’m sure there are many reasons that could suggested, but I would like to submit to you, Dear Reader, the following: Could Jesus have been sleeping in the midst of the storm, because maybe, just maybe He knew that He had a handle on the storm; He was secure in His status as Lord and Master over the elements!
It may have seemed to His disciples that He was sleeping the sleep of nonchalance! In actual fact He was sleeping the sleep of One Who was in control! He was IN control and IN charge. Friend, are you being buffetted, battered and bruised by the breakers of life? Does the deluge seem unending? You no longer know which is the right side up due to the storm-tossed nature of your experiences! You cry out ad nauseum: “Where is God?”
Well, Friend, I’m not going to reply with a three-point sermon. All I’m going to leave you with is this: It may seem the the Saviour is asleep, but fear not: He is in control! He’s not regaining control – He’s never lost it! He is about to arise and rebuke the wind and say to your stormy sea “Peace, be still!” At the other side of this experience you will together with me, and so many others who have gone on before, look back with awe – your cries for pity, turned to cries of praise! Your tears of terror, turned to tears of joy! From the depth of your soul, you too will wonder: ““Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” “