I’m sitting here listening to the wind of Hurricane Sandy. For the most part, the storm is over for our neighborhood. The rain will eventually be calming down, the wind will be calming down–everything will settle.
So what happens after the storm? Where can we look for guidance as to what happens after your soul has been battered by storms?
I love the story of Jesus Calming the Storm. But I never thought before to look at what happened after the storm. I think there are lessons to be learned in what the disciples experienced after the storm was calmed.
Here is the text:
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” 5:1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.
This passage in Mark 4 tells the story of Jesus, asleep in the boat, when a great storm arose. He was awakened by His disciples who could not understand how Jesus could be asleep. Jesus wakes up, rebukes the wind and tells the sea to “Be Still”. The wind stops. And then we see it:
- “And there was a great calm” (verse 39) After this storm, after Jesus calmed the storm, there was a great calm. A great settling of the wind and the sea. And so it is with the storms of our souls. It may be a very uneasy calm, because we are human. Because we worry about the effects of the storm. And we worry about the next storm to come, so sometimes we don’t recognize God’s calming of the storm. And sometimes, that calm seems as if it is never going to come. I know that so well. But scripture is truth. We read time and again in the Psalms how God is our refuge. How he grants peace and sleep. If you are in the midst of a soul storm, please my friend, hang on. A day will come when there will be a settling. That doesn’t mean it makes the storms or their effects any easier. Storms create great damage, as we are seeing on the East Coast. Storms of the soul do too. But hang on, God will grant calm. And our time here on earth is short. We will be home soon, where we will finally know true settling of our souls.
- After the Storm Comes Teaching: 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” We see that after the storm, Jesus uses the moment to teach His disciples. Or maybe it could be considered discipline, for He asks “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” He wants them to examine themselves, now that the storm is over. He wants them to examine their soul and take a look at their faith. Do they have the faith in Jesus that He can calm the storm, when it is time to? This is a hard question to ask yourself, or at least, it is for me. Because I don’t like the answer I find inside of me. My faith is so small. My fear is so large. And yet those are the very two questions He asks about. It is in asking ourselves these questions that we are compelled to cry out “Help Our Unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)
- After the Storm Comes Acknowledgement: We see in verse 41 the disciples “filled with great fear” and saying to eachother “Who is this, that the wind and the sea obey Him?” I think this question is a question of acknowledgement. The disciples are filled with great fear, because they realize they are dealing with someone extraordinary. While we are in the midst of the storm, it can be so very hard to see where God is. Good grief, I know this to be truth. God seems so absent. His ways seem so unfathomable in the midst of our soul storms. But in the calm, there comes acknowledgement that God is God. That He sees and knows, even when we think He does not. And this should fill us with great fear—fear in terms of tremendous respect for who our God is. Sometimes this acknowledgement only comes after hours and hours of wrestling with scripture, hours of prayer, and hours of worshipping even when our soul does not want to study, pray or worship.
- Coming to the Other Side: As we see in verse 5:1, after the storm the disciples and Jesus “came to the other side of the sea”. Do you see the hope in that simple sentence? They made it to the other side of the storm. They came through the storm. I’m sure they were still shaking, still battered, still bewildered. But the point is, they came to the other side of the sea. With Jesus. We have to believe that we will come to the other side of the sea. And if not in this life, then when we “Cross over the Jordan River” (often used to refer to passing from this life to our eternal life with God), we will ultimately come to the other side. We will be Home.