The Master had been surrounded by huge crowds all day. Hours he spent teaching them, trying to explain faith and heaven through stories about seeds. It was getting late, and the Master was exhausted from the crowds. He gave the word and we loaded up the boats and set sail on the Sea toward the other side. As we set sail the sun was setting over the mountains to the West and the whole body of water was transformed into brilliant shades of purples and pinks as the sky dimmed orange and then red.
The sun dipped behind the hills, and as the sky grew darker some clouds began to blow in on an east wind. The wind blew harder, and the sea once smooth was now tossing the boats like a child’s plaything. Our boats had been blown off course and there was no way to tell which direction we were heading. The waves grew taller, the winds grew fiercer, and the rain began pouring down upon us.
We were all frantically rowing, steering, and bailing water out of the boat, for the waves were now breaking violently over the sides as if begging to steal us away to the bottom of the sea. Panic, fear, dread. Would our boats hold together – our only source of income? Would we live to see our families again? We had been caught in storms like this many times before, but nothing could have prepared us for the veracity of this squall.
Looking around I noticed five men at their stations when we started out with six. Where was the Master? Frantically I looked the length of the boat. Relief, bewilderment, and alarm swept over me all at once as I found that the Master was asleep on a cushion in the stern of the boat. Anxiously I awoke him, yelling through the wind and the rain, “Master! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?”
His demeanor remained eerily calm as he stood up, walked to the edge of the boat and said right into the face of the storm, “Peace! Be still.”
The final syllable had hardly left his rain-battered lips before the wind died, the rain ceased, the waves grew calm, and the clouds went on their way. Suddenly what had been a great, horrific squall was now as serene as heaven itself. The sea lit up from the reflection of the moon and the stars. Perfect calm.
The Master watched the scene unfold along with us. Then he turned back to face us and asked point-blank, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
We just turned and stared at each other as the Master went back to the stern. Wiping the rain and sea water from our faces terror once again swelled through us as we tried to come to grips with what just happened. “Who is this man,” I asked with trembling lips, “that even the wind and the waves obey him?”
I never knew that perfect peace could be so terrifying when you are in the presence of the Almighty God.
(from Mark 4:35-41)