A retelling of Matthew 8:23–27, as told by a disciple.
No one could tell stories like the Master—stories of soil and sheep, a lost coin and a lost son, wise and foolish servants, watchmen, and virgins, just to mention a few.
As dusk began to fall, we were exhausted from trying to keep a bit of order. The crowd had been there for several hours, and they kept pressing us towards the shoreline as they jostled to get closer to Jesus to get a better view or touch His garment for a blessing. Jesus had to tell His stories from one of the fishing boats just to be heard. As it was getting late, we told everyone to go home. The show was over for the day.
Jesus told us to go to the other side of Lake Galilee, as He knew another adventure awaited us there—as if we needed more excitement! We were all hoping for a bit of well-deserved rest and relaxation.
We shoved off in calm waters, feeling satisfied that we had made a good day of it. Jesus was just as exhausted as we were. In fact, not long after we launched out, He went to the stern where he soon fell asleep on a pillow. We lived rough, so we appreciated small comforts. He used to say that the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but that He had nowhere to lay His head—true, but a soft pillow can sure help you get some good sleep.
Unexpectedly, a storm started to blow when we were in the middle of the lake. Being a seasoned fisherman, I knew that sudden storms could hit, especially in the evening. I’m told it’s because of the cool air from the high surrounding mountains hitting the warm air from the low-lying lake.
My initial reaction was that it wasn’t a good idea to venture out that late, but the sky didn’t look too bad, and after all, we were with the Master. Surely, He wouldn’t have told us to sail if He didn’t know we would make it—but I soon found out that His ways are not necessarily the same as our ways.
The wind began to shriek and howl like a raging banshee. The waves started to crash over the side of the boat. I’d seen squalls before, but nothing like this. Our small crowded craft was starting to fill up fast and we all started to frantically bail water with whatever we could find. All of us, that is, except the Master. I couldn’t believe it! He was fast asleep as if He were dozing in a sheep’s fleece couch.
We were up to our ankles in water and the boat was heaving up and down like we were riding on the back of a dragon. We were riding low in the water and soon we would be swamped. It was all we could do just to stay in the boat. Not everyone could swim, and even if you could swim, the waves were so rough that you wouldn’t last long in the cold water.
I and another disciple shook Jesus and pleaded with Him to do something. He didn’t respond right away, so we tried a little stronger persuasion, hoping He’d feel guilty for not helping us in our disaster. “Master, don’t You care that we’re going to drown! Save us!”
Then He got up and with His hand on the mast spoke to the storm! “Quiet, be still!”
And it was! Soon the water was like glass. We paused a minute to appreciate the moment. I thought to myself that we should have asked for His help a lot earlier.
Jesus looked at us and said, “Why were you so afraid? Where is your faith?” I was too ashamed to answer.
We had questions of our own, of course: “Who is this man, that even the wind and sea obey him?” It began to dawn on us that we weren’t just following a wise rabbi but were in the presence of the glory of God.
We soon reached the other side safely and I was reminded of the following passages: “You faithfully answer our prayers with awesome deeds, O God our savior. You are the hope of everyone on earth, even those who sail on distant seas. You quieted the raging oceans with their pounding waves. [You] calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves [and] brought them safely into harbor.”1
When later in my life other storms unexpectedly hit, I trusted that He who was with us in the boat that day would be with me always, even until the end of my days.
- Psalm 65:5,7 NLT; Psalm 107:29–30 NLT