Have you ever been though a natural disaster? If you haven’t, thank merciful God. But if you have, you understand the level of dread they inspire. I was living in Miami in 1992 when Hurricane Andrew formed in the Atlantic. Weathermen had been warning us of the Category 5 hurricane for days, so we boarded up windows and bought canned food and bottled water to ride out the storm. South Florida had no recent memory of a cyclone of this magnitude, so we bravely hunkered down and braced for impact. Little did we know. The first thing we experienced were the thunderstorms, lashing the house with howling winds and pummeling rain. The power station cut off electricity, so we were devoid of lights and air conditioning. Our house was like a sealed sauna, without a whisper of fresh air in the oppressive August heat. By the time the winds truly angered, the pressure inside our home became unbearable. Our ears popped every few minutes, and when they did, we could hear clearly each board and nail in the structure straining to withstand the sledgehammer winds. Fear became another entity in the house. Every time a huge piece of debris crashed against the house, Fear would start screaming, alarming us all. By the time the hurricane's eye approached, I prepared to die. I asked God to forgive all my sins, regretting that I had not been a better child to Him. I begged Him to take my soul into heaven along with my family, certain that this day would be our last.
I took my Bible, and read from 1 John 19: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." I lay on my sweat-soaked bed, dabbing a wet paper towel on my exposed skin in a futile attempt to cool myself, Despite my physical discomfort, I was at peace. I knew God would be merciful, just as His word said, and I would meet Jesus once the hurricane overtook us. And then, a strange thing happened. I fell asleep. Despite the deafening winds, the stifling airlessness, and the dread of being trapped in a shaking house, I dozed off. Fear stopped shouting, and I slept as soundly as a kitten. And I didn’t wake up until the eye had passed over us several hours later. Though our house had been built in 1949, Hurricane Andrew caused only minimal damage. I was expecting to awaken in the afterlife. Instead, I was at peace in my Father’s arms. Something like this happened to the disciples once.
Jesus had just finished teaching a crowd near a lake. He told his disciples that he wanted to go to the opposite shore, so he got into a boat, and the disciples followed him. At some point in their trip, a storm began to brew. The winds grew fierce, assaulting the small vessel. Eventually, the waves grew so high that they slammed over the boat. The boat was tearing apart.
The disciples were terrified. There was nothing they could do to save themselves from the storm. The boat was going under, and they were all about to drown.
Somebody remembered Jesus. In all the turmoil, while everyone was trying to keep the boat from sinking, no one remembered to alert the Lord. And when they found him, they were appalled. Jesus was fast asleep in the stern.
In typical Jesus fashion, he asked a question that drove right to the heart of the matter.
"Why are you so afraid?”
Hello?!? The winds! The waves! The boat! Impending death!
Before the disciples could enumerate the reasons for their fear, Jesus turned around and shouted over the din of the hurricane. “Quiet! Be still!” (Mark 4:39)
Jesus--Lord of Lords, Maker of Heaven and Earth, I AM THAT I AM--spoke. And when He commands, nature doesn't dare ignore him.
"Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." (Mark 4:39) Just like that, the hurricane vanished.
Jesus turned back to his followers. He had some sharp words for the disciples as well. "Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
One can sense the irritation in Jesus's tone. He'd been with them so long, performed so many miracles in their sight, and they still had no idea Who it was they followed. Despite all the evidence of the supernatural, they were still entrenched in the natural. His disciples were so distracted by the bluster of the storm that their faith in their Savior grew faint by comparison.
But when Jesus is around, there are no limits to what he can do. And that realization knocked them back.
'The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” ' (Matthew 8:27) You bet they do.
And that is a message for all of us as well. Nothing is too hard for our Lord. No matter how loud the storms rage around us, let's call on our Lord. He can make the storms vanish. So let us not focus on the size of our problem, but look instead to the size of our God!