birds in storm

Sleeping Through a Storm

Mark 4:35-41 describes Jesus asleep on a cushion in the stern of a fishing boat when gale winds hit the Sea of Galilee and churned up fearful waves nearly swamping the boat.  He was so exhausted from ministering to thousands that neither the violent pitching of the boat nor the roar of the wind awakened Him.  But what the turbulence could not do, the disciples did saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (v. 38b)

The disciples actually correctly discerned that the storm was trying to kill them.  But they either forgot or did not know that Satan had left Jesus after tempting Him in the wilderness to return at a more opportune time.  Jesus was the actual target and Satan, the opportunist, was looking for the vulnerability that exhaustion usually presents.  Satan’s miscalculation was that Jesus didn’t respond to the crisis as a son of man, but as the Son of God.  Despite the panic on the disciples’ faces, Jesus “got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet!  Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” (v. 39) Creation obeyed its Creator.  Did the disciples really have to ask Who He was??

Because Jesus naturally functioned in that truth, fear had no place.  I believe God allowed this futile attack against Jesus as a vital lesson for the disciples and all of us.  Satan delights in confusion and crises that terrify us through what we see and our senses tell us is real.  Unfortunately, most of us have endured various traumas that support the reality of our sensual input.  We’ve experienced the knee-jerk panic reflex known as fight or flight responses, as well as the helplessness that weighs upon us making us feel isolated and alone. This downward spiral ushers in doubt that God is present or would save us if He was.  In this way, the enemy’s diabolical plan achieves its goal: fear produces doubt that erodes faith.  But Jesus’ model was an amazing demonstration of what can happen when fear has no foothold.  Victory over fear is always rooted in the knowledge of Who is in the crisis-boat with us.

Even so, how many of us traverse great hardships believing God must be asleep at the wheel when He doesn’t stop the storm for us in its tracks?  That usually happens when we have expectations of what God’s deliverance or rescue looks like.  We actually can’t help having those ideations; we know what gives us the peace and assurance we need.  Yet, the Lord never seems to operate according to those expectations.  So, helplessness and loneliness ensues when the thing we dreaded appears to be upon us, and tunnel vision keeps our eyes focused on the looming catastrophe.  Thankfully, God is above the storm, like the sun is always above the clouds; He never slumbers or sleeps (Psalm 121:4).  Our Lord is never taken by surprise and He is never at a loss for what to do, as He sees the big picture.  How hard is it to remember that He has said He will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6)?

In that moment, we can choose to either trust in His goodness, or not.  Option two, trusting in our experiences, opens us to the cycle of fear and doubt negating faith.  Conversely, the Lord of the Universe speaks to the wind and the waves in our hearts and minds, scorning fear to shut it down.  On the Sea of Galilee Jesus turned a death threat into a life-giving lesson.  The question for us in attempting to ride the waves of our lives is whether our trust in Him will allow us the peace to sleep in His boat.

“You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in You.”
              Isaiah 26:3


  1. Phil on March 12, 2024 at 10:47 am

    Amazing word from Heaven!