Look at Your Master
Any experienced dog trainer will tell you the key to a calm and obedient puppy comes from a strong bond between the master and the canine. When moments of chaos arise—other dogs around, loud knocks at the door, a squirrel in the road—the best-trained dogs look to their owner and take their cues from them. If the master of the dog looks calm and offers, “It’s okay, good boy,” a faithful dog will likely rest its head and ignore the external distractions. If the master looks peaceful, the puppy will follow. Believers would do well to take a page from Fido’s book in this way.
Only God Calms Storms
Due to the topography of the Sea of Galilee—seven hundred feet below sea level and sloping hills all around it—storms often swelled on the lake.1 Yet, for a storm to cause such great distress for a group of well-trained fishermen, it must have been a doozy. In the midst of panic and utter chaos, Jesus’s calm mood struck a strong contrast. While the disciples panicked and cried out, Jesus napped. The psalmists have already taught us that only God can master the weather (Psalm 104:3; 135:7; 107:23–30), so when Jesus rebuked the wind and the waves, the gospel writers intended to showcase Jesus’s deity and authority. At the mere mention of the command, the storm ceased immediately, and the disciples went from knocking knees to dropping jaws. After all, only Yahweh holds the power to calm the storms and control the seas. If only God can quell storms, who did that make Jesus?
While the disciples might have wanted to throw a party to celebrate surviving the incredible storm, Jesus used the opportunity to teach his disciples a valuable lesson. At this point in the life of Christ, the disciples had seen him do plenty of miraculous things. Their failure in grasping this miracle came not from a lack of initial faith. Instead, they failed because they refused to apply their faith. Like a well-trained pup, disciples of Jesus should have looked to Christ in the midst of chaos and storms. We take our cues from him. He is our peace and provides us with peace through his presence in our storms. When storms in life arise, Jesus promises to stand by our side through them all. One theologian puts it, “It might be deliverance through trial rather than from it,” but either way God expects us to look to him in the storm and trust him.2
Facing Your Storms
Scripture reminds us that we will face trials of many kinds (John 16:33). We can relate strongly to the disciples as the winds swirl and the waves topple over the sides of the boat. We know the gut punch of a bad diagnosis, the nausea of betrayal, the ground shaking below us in failure. We should learn from the disciples’ mistakes and keep our eyes on our savior, not our storm.
1 Darrel Bock, "Luke" in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1994), 761.
2 Bock, "Luke," 764.