“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’” (Mark 4:35)
Of course, you could sleep. The water filling the boat would not terrify you. From your viewpoint, what’s the difference between calm or turbulent seas? The prevailing ocean winds are yours to command.
Of course, you had to sleep. You were weary with exhaustion from the relentless demands imposed by needy people. Fully human, your body collapsed on a cushion in the stern of the wooden vessel as it traveled across the Galilean sea.
In the darkened evening shadows, the rhythm of the waves rocked you. You were neither alarmed nor distraught when your terrified friends disturbed your slumber and accused you of not caring about them. First things first—immediately you rebuked the storm, and it responded like a well-trained pet to its master’s command. You spoke to the waves and the wind, and they listened; they obey no one else. Neither high-ranking navy commanders nor sea captains would ever have the audacity to tell a storm to shut its mouth. But you can—you did.
Your nervous disciples had forgotten what you had told them earlier in the day. They had not taken you seriously when you said, “Let us go across to the other side” (Mark 4:35). You had made a promise, and you always keep those. You made it very clear that you were going with them in the boat, and that together you would make it to the other side. Having you in the boat came with the guarantee that regardless of wind intensity or rising water, you would see to it that they arrived safely.
After you dealt with the winds, you turned your attention to your sopping-wet, scared friends and gave them a rebuke as well. “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:30). After seeing me silence the demons, heal the leper, show mercy to the paralytic, and preach my heart out about the kingdom of heaven, after all this, did you still not believe in me? After spending so much time with me, did you truly believe I did not care about you?
Followers of mine, I want you to always remember this—when I am with you in the boat, the condition of the sea is never a concern.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell