I hear from others how wonderful cruises are, but I don’t plan to ever take one. It’s not that I don’t like the ocean. I was born in a hospital on the edge of the Pacific. I grew up in that town. I played on its beaches and poked around in its many tide pools. But cruises, out in the deep, away from land? I have this fear that my cruise ship would sink and I’d be a floating meal for a bunch of sharks. No thank you, I’m not going to give them a tasty treat.
I know what you’re thinking. “That’s crazy, Marlon. Cruise ships don’t sink.” Well, that’s what they said about the Titanic, too! No thanks, call me a land-lubber, but I plan to keep my feet planted on this terra firma.
All this brings me to an episode is Jesus’ life. It’s recorded by Mark in the fourth chapter of his New Testament book. It was after another busy day of teaching crowds of people that Jesus said, “Let’s go over to the other side.” Of course, He was referring to the Sea of Galilee, what we would call a large lake. This body of water was very familiar to a third of the disciples. They had been professional fishermen before Jesus called them to be His disciples. They made their living fishing its depths. But this night was unlike any they had experienced before.
The Bible says a furious squall came up. The wind started howling. The waves began crashing over the boat. They were in danger of capsizing. The Bible also tells us that they didn’t start their cruise until it was evening, so it was dark and stormy. Things seem so much scarier when you are out in a storm at night. Earlier, when they pushed off from shore, these rugged men had no idea that they would be facing death that night. So, as they furiously baled water from their boat and tore down its sail, what was Jesus doing? Helping to bale? Shouting out orders? No, “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.” Through all the noise and the up-and-down tossing of the boat, Jesus was sleeping like a baby.
Isn’t that like the Lord? We get so wrapped up in the situation of the moment, and Jesus calmly faces it with us. Don’t miss that. Jesus was with them in the midst of their fear and anxiety. He wasn’t back on shore, leaving them to face their struggles alone. Comically, these hardened seafarers woke Jesus, shouting, “Don’t You care if we drown?” Sounds like us; we often couch our worry with words, “Don’t You know what I’m facing? Don’t You realize how important this is? Don’t You care?”
So, what did Jesus do? He stood up and commanded the storm, “Quiet! Be still!” Immediately the wind died down and the water became smooth. Jesus has the power and authority to command the elements, and they must obey. In our lives, He doesn’t always stop the storm, but He never climbs out of the boat and leaves us alone. Someone has said, “sometimes He calms the storm, sometimes He calms me.” I find that in my life He is more concerned about changing my attitude than changing my circumstances. He wants me to learn to look to Him and trust Him regardless of my situation.
I’m grateful I don’t encounter anything without Him. But I’m still not getting on a cruise ship, so don’t bother to ask me along!