So, there we were, about a mile from shore, enjoying the bliss and mild lethargy brought on by sunshine and mild breezes. One of us had settled in the back of the boat and started an afternoon nap when the threatening clouds first showed up and started marching off the near shore and heading straight for us. We had no options but to abandon our plans for a smooth crossing and begin the process of hunkering down and preparing the boat for weather. Amid grumbling and complaining and a bit of the coarse humor that showed up to cover the undercurrent of anxiety we were feeling, we brought the sails in and covered the supplies with canvas tarps. Then we got a couple of oars in the water to stabilize the boat and turned into the approaching dark line. The first thunder hits us as a roar and the wind completely quit. Our napper in the back ignored our raised voices and slowly turned over with a light snore.
And then it was upon us. Now the thunder clapped like a pistol shot and the rain curtain swallowed us as the wind hit like a fist. The boat immediately careened out of control. Two oars and a rudder did little against the storm’s power. We swung sideways to the blistering rain and started scrambling about in the mad fury that comes with the threat of imminent death. The maelstrom was so intense that we could barely hear our own voices as we turned to the back of the boat and shouted, pleaded, “Wake up, Jesus!”
He rolled over in the driving rain and sat up. A couple of us got pretty angry at how he seemed so peaceful in the midst of all this chaos. I guess at that point “Peace, be still” seemed like the worst teaching he could have offered. But while we were trying to figure that out, the gust front passed and there we were together, drenched with rain and sweat, but otherwise OK, listening to God’s son gently chastising us about the shallowness of our faith. I found myself praying that for the rest of my life I would never doubt him again.