Mark 4:35–41 (NLT): As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37 But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
38 Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
I’ve been pondering this story, but it leaves me uncomfortable and frustrated.
Capable, experienced mariners operated the boat. They had been fishing since they were youth on this very lake. This time out, they encounter a fierce storm. I can’t imagine that it’s the first one they’ve seen. Maybe not even the worst one. So they battle the storm using every skill and ounce of strength they can muster, but somehow today, it doesn’t seem to be enough.
Finally, in desperation, they wake Jesus. How he could be sleeping in the back of an open boat during a storm that nearly capsizes them is beyond me. There’s something about it that I don’t get. Something about him. Indifference? I don’t think so. Ignorance? No! What kind of peace, trust, positivity, and faith let you sleep through that? Divine. Superhuman. Supernatural.
When the disciples wake him, he seems agitated. The storm doesn’t bother him, but his disciples do. But it’s the question he asks them that troubles me. ‘Why are you afraid?’ Really?
At this point, the story stalls for me. I can’t get past the facts. The fishermen knew what they were doing. They were doing everything they knew how. The apparent conclusion was a catastrophe. The boat will sink based on where the story is heading. The only thing they can think to do is wake Jesus. Ultimately that was the decision that avoided the unavoidable sinking. Yet Jesus seems to say they made the wrong choice. They should have done/demonstrated something else.