It has been two years that we, wherever we are in the world, have faced this pandemic season. These times have been difficult with lockdowns and much loss – from jobs to even people who we dearly love. This is a chaotic time that no one in 2019 could have imagined to hit the world soon after.
Everything that has happened could cause us to lose our peace and tranquility in life. We could be filled with fear and worry of what the future may hold. In my contemplation toward the difficult situation, I am reminded of the story of Jesus calming the storm.
Jesus calms the storm
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41 NRSV)
In the reading above, there are a few things that catch my attention. The first is that Jesus himself invites his disciples to go to the other side of the sea, but in the middle of the journey, a hurricane crashes onto the boat, so that the boat begins to fill with water.
One thing we need to realize is that although the disciples are with Jesus on the ship, it does not mean that they would be immune to trouble. It does not mean that their journey would be smooth, without any obstacles or trouble. In reality, it was not as they expected. It was not a peaceful breeze that came to help them relax but a dangerous and mighty wind!
God never promised that when we follow God, everything will be fine, without problems and all safe and sound. No! What God promises is “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5b). No matter what situation we are in, God is there with us.
The second thing that is interesting is that Jesus actually falls asleep in the stern until finally his disciples wake him up.
Why does Jesus sleep when the situation is so chaotic with waves crashing into the boat? For Jesus, the waves, the typhoon, the wind are not a problem. Maybe for us those things are frightening and life-threatening. That is what the disciples felt. But again, I want to emphasize that for Jesus, it is a small matter.
Why does Jesus eventually wake up? Jesus wakes up not because of the storm, but when his disciples cry to him for help. Interesting, right? Jesus does not respond because of the windstorm, but because his people call on him for help. That moves his heart. Jesus loves us so much.
We know that in the end, Jesus rebukes the wind and tells the sea to be still. Then the wind dies down and the sea becomes completely calm.
Jesus is present
Jesus turns to his disciples and reminds them that they are with him on the ship. Yes, so often we forget, as we are experiencing struggles that are not easy, that Jesus is not going anywhere. He is with us and never leaves us.
Once again, Jesus never promised that we would not face all of this, but he did promise no matter what condition we are in, he is there. Jesus is present. He will never leave us because we are always in his mind and heart.
And is not the most important thing that Jesus is walking beside us? And the Jesus who is walking alongside us is saying to you today, “Do not be afraid.”
Because the God who walks with you is more powerful than any problem that you are facing.
It is not an empty promise – God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen”! (2 Corinthians 1:20). The disciples are terrified and say to each other, “Even the wind and the waves obey him!” Yes! Jesus’ power overcomes every problem we are facing.
I pray that, in this short message, we can realize that the presence of Jesus in our lives is more important than any difficulty that we may face. When we realize that Jesus is with us, we find peace and strength, instead of fear.
Even though the situation is not easy, we can still remember, with whom are we walking? That is far more important.
There our hearts will find peace and calm even in difficult situations. Do not be afraid, just believe!
“Whatever our problem and struggle is, the answer and solution is already with you and his name is Jesus!”
—Anton Kurniawan Sidharta is a member of the leadership team of JKI (Jemaat Kristen Indonesia) Maranatha and founder of the Unlimited Fire youth convention.