An old Quaker once stood up in a Friends meeting and told the congregation about a young man whom he knew. This young man lived a very undisciplined life and did not believe in the truths of the faith. One day this young man asked a pious Quaker friend to go sailing. A sudden storm came up and the undisciplined and unbelieving youth was drowned.
Having said this, the old Quaker sat down. He had obviously made his point about where undisciplined and irreligious living will lead. But after a few minutes, he stood up again and said to the meeting: "Friends, for the honor of the truth, I think I ought to add that the Quaker also drowned."1
No one is exempt from trouble. All of us, at some point in our lives, find ourselves caught in the storms of life. That is certainly what the disciples learned that day on the Sea of Galilee.
The day had begun with Jesus preaching and teaching for the crowds on the shore of the sea. But the press of the crowd became so great that Jesus climbed into a boat and pushed out a little way from the shore. From that vantage point He continued to speak to them.
As the day drew to a close, Jesus turned to the disciples and said, "Let's go over to the other side." After a day of pouring Himself out for the multitudes, Jesus was drained. Shortly after they had cast off from shore, Jesus was asleep in the stern.
Halfway across the lake they were caught in a sudden storm. Because of the topography of the lake, these storms were not uncommon. The problem was that they usually came without warning and were often fierce in their intensity.
This particular storm broke with such fury that the boat was almost swamped. Fear gripped the disciples, even the experienced sailors among them. But at the height of the storm's fury, Jesus continued to sleep in the stern of the boat. They woke him up, shouting, "We're going to drown! Don't you care?!"
With sleep still in His eyes, Jesus got up in the stern of the boat. Over the howl of the wind and the cracking of the boat, Jesus called out to the storm: "Quiet! Be still!" Even more suddenly than the storm had come upon them, it now ceased. The winds stopped blowing; the waves stopped crashing; the sea was like glass. It was completely calm.
After His rebuke of the storm, Jesus then rebuked the disciples. With the sad look of disappointment on His face, He asked them, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"
Apparently the disciples were so stunned by what they had just seen Jesus do that they did not hear -- at least they did not pay any attention to -- what He said. They did not respond to Jesus' question about their faith; rather, still gripped by terror they said to one another, "Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey Him!"
I must tell you that as I read and studied this story about the power of Jesus and the weakness of the disciples' faith, I soon began to identify with them. I began to ask myself some very sensitive questions in the light of this story.