35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Mark 4: 35-41 ESV
My family had a bumpy ride last week because we were caught in the storm of COVID. In the previous two years of the pandemic, we learned to be cautious about hand washing, masking, and avoiding crowds. We also diligently followed our vaccine schedule. I rehearsed many times in my mind the scenes when COVID hits our family and the actions we shall take. I expected my son would be the first one to bring home the virus because, being in school, he would have had more exposure. But storms usually hit when you least expect it. Like the storm the disciples caught that night, I got COVID.
While reading today’s passage, these questions came to mind:
Jesus was the one who asked the disciples to go across to the other side of the sea. Did He not know there was a storm coming? If He knew, why did He set His disciples up for this kind of danger and go sleep Himself?
We all wish to avoid storms in life or at least be well prepared if one should happen. But how well can one be ready when a storm actually lands. The disciples were experienced fishermen with good sailing training on the sea, but when they suddenly faced the stormy sea, they lost their calm, and they were terrified. They cried to the Lord in complaint and doubt, very similar to what we would do – “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
Jesus was sleeping calmly during the storm. Does that mean He did not care? Or do we have little faith to trust that He is powerful enough to sleep through the storm if He wills? He allows storms to happen in our life because He is the one who would care to stay with us through it all, and He has the power and authority to calm them. He is the Lord of Peace.
Having COVID is terrible, and being trapped in the eye of a storm can be horrifying. But peace is not about always sailing on quiet water. The surfers will tell you it is boring. Peace is about who we have in our boat weathering the storm. When Jesus, the Lord of Peace, is in our boat, we can sing in the night and dance in the storm.
That is the peace that transcends all understanding, the peace from God.