© Jeanne E Webster
Mark 4:37 “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship asleep on a pillow, and they awake him, and say unto him, ‘Master, carest thou not that we perish?’ And he arose and rebuked the wind and said unto the sea, ‘Peace, be still! And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, ‘Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?’ And they feared exceedingly and said one to another, ‘What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”
Jesus had preached to thousands from the deck of a large boat that day, expounding in parables the mysteries of God. Some Bible scholars believe our Lord used this method of teaching as judgment on the hearers’ spiritual dullness, yet leaving intact God’s willingness to enlighten and save them. Later, alone with His disciples, Jesus revealed to them these mysteries. Evening drew near and our Lord told them to sail across to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They soon departed the shore, having sent away the masses of people; their Master was at rest in the stern of the boat.
Quite rapidly, as happened often in that area, a vicious storm had developed, with gale-force winds hefting their muscle and pitching wave after wave of water into their boat. It soon became dangerously full, stoking the worst fears of the disciples. A day basking in the warmth of their master’s voice bearing witness of God’s love to the people had now ended in an evening of extreme terror.
Their first thoughts were, “Do something!” “Wake up!” “Don’t you care if we drown?!” They were gut-cut afraid; out of their minds afraid. Where was the Watchman? The Master was present in the boat but asleep on a pillow. He was sleeping on His watch!
“Master! Master! Save us! We’re going to drown!”
How many times do we reach a like stress point and scream, like the disciples, “Master! Save us!” We know all too well Jesus is with us, see Him at peace among us, believe He is watching over us, yet we grow fearful, not necessarily of dying but of believing that Jesus can save us, no matter what storm thunders through our lives. It is said that faith dispels fear only in proportion to its strength.
After quickly rebuking the winds and the sea waters, He scolded the disciples, and scolds us today, “O ye of little faith!” Faith turns and flees the scene of terror, leaving only fingernail strength hanging to the dangling threads of our Master’s garment. “Why are you so afraid?” Christ admonished His disciples, chiefly because of their little faith, not the lack of it.
Amid the tempest in our lives we too shrink back in fear . . . when suddenly the storm is over. He has hushed the howling of legions of marauding tribulations. He has stilled the storm; the waters have stopped and rise no more. We too utter a soul-deep gush of wonder:
“What manner of Man is this?!”
O Thou, in all Thy might so far
~by Frederick L. Hosmer
O Thou, in all Thy might so far,
In all Thy love so near,
Beyond the range of sun and star,
And yet beside us here.
What heart can comprehend Thy Name,
Or, searching, find Thee out,
Who art within, a quickening Flame,
A Presence round about.
Yet though I know Thee but in part,
I ask not, Lord, for more;
Enough for me to know Thou art,
To love Thee and adore.
And dearer than all things I know
Is childlike faith to me,
That makes the darkest way I go
An open path to Thee.
(Written on the night of Hurricane Sandy, 2012, besetting the entire East coast, flooding New York City. A horrendous storm!)