One of the most special parts of my recent travels in Israel was a cruise on the Sea of Galilee.
Many of the historical spots of this Holy Land are now covered by large basilicas - the place of Jesus' first miracle in Cana, the place of Jesus' birth, John the Baptist's birthplace, and the location where Jesus fed the 5000, to name a few. However, the Sea of Galilee cannot be covered by a shrine of any sorts, and so there I knew I'd be seeing and experiencing just what Jesus saw when he sailed the Sea with his fishermen disciples. I'm so grateful I had this experience.
We boarded the boat at a dock just across from Tiberias, the town where our hotel was located. We were sailing along the northeastern part of the Sea of Galilee. That morning the sky contained a mix of clouds and sunshine.
Our guide explained to us that a sudden storm could come up while we were out on the boat. Due to the mountainous terrain surrounding the water and windy downdrafts, sudden storms are frequent. The high waves they create can easily swamp even the largest of the fishing and tour boats. The captains of these boats know these waters and wind conditions best, and so flexibility and adaptability are two key components when sailing on the Sea of Galilee.
We discussed the miracles of Jesus connected with the Sea of Galilee. In one "a furious squall came up," and the waves were breaking over the front of the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. You can read about this sudden storm in Mark 4:35-41.
It had been a busy day of ministering and miracles for Jesus, and it seems the rocking boat easily put him to sleep there in the back. Meanwhile the disciples were frantically fighting the storm, fruitlessly bailing water out of the boat, and finally waking Jesus in terror.
They were sure they were all gonna die, and they begged Jesus to do something about it.
With the simple words "Quiet! Be still!" the power of the divine Son of God exploded onto this scene.
The wind stopped.
The sea became calm.
The storm ended.
Jesus spoke and the waves disappeared. As the divine Son of God He has the power to change life's circumstances and to calm life's storms.
As I looked out over the ripples of water that day, it hit me powerfully. Yes, Jesus has the ability to stand beside me and immediately settle my storms. But yes, he also has the ability and wisdom to know when to let those storms rage.
Just like the disciples, I can call out to him for help, and then trust him no matter what he does or doesn't do! I know he will be with me in and through the storms.
One of these days I may even walk on water with him.