A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to go sailing with a good friend of mine.
One beautiful Spring day when we both had some time and he called and asked me to go sailing with him. I was thrilled to join him. I had sailed before and looked forward to the experience once again.
We met at the lake and got on the boat to get underway. Slowly we motored out of the inlet into the lake and then put up the sails. It was a great experience! I loved the sounds of the wind in the sails, the waves on the boat and the experience of sailing by wind power alone.
If you are familiar with Lake Erie, it’s a large lake and a great place to sail. The problem with sailing on Lake Erie is that for such a large lake is relatively shallow. On the western basin of the lake, it averages only around 25-30 ft deep. Being so shallow, if there is any real wind, it can cause the waves to swell and it can make a trip on the lake a rough one.
But not this day. We had a great time and a wonderful day on the lake.
Then it happened.
Suddenly, and really without warning, a storm came up.
It was a big one. 50-60 mile per hour winds and gusts, 5-6 foot waves, black clouds moving overhead.
Quickly the lake cleared of other boats. Within minutes we alone and we were in the middle of the storm.
Our boat was leaning with the storm winds at 50 degrees or more. The waves were washing over the deck. The skies were black. The rain was intense.
I WAS AFRAID!
But then I turned around and looked at my friend as he steered the boat across the lake. HE WAS SMILING! I couldn’t believe it. Didn’t he see what I saw? Didn’t he know this was bad?
In my amazement I yelled through the storm, “How can you smile in this storm? Don’t you see the wind and the waves?”
I heard the fear in my own voice as I said, “Don’t you care that we might drown?”
My friend smiled back and said, “You don’t understand. I know my boat. It has a 9,000 pound keel. This boat was built for the oceans. This storm is nothing! We are fine! Relax, enjoy the ride.”
Suddenly, my fear subsided.
I had looked at the captain’s face. He knew things about our boat that I didn’t.
He knew we were fine.
Within a few moments my fear turned to calm.
Because I trusted the captain I began to enjoy the ride.
Nothing had changed… the wind still blew, the rains still came, the waves still washed over the deck, but something was different… I had seen the captain’s face.
The Christian life is much like this little adventure of mine. We are often caught in the storms of life and fear for our lives, our finances, our health.
This life is often overcome by a storm when we least expect it.
I can imagine what the disciples experienced on the sea of Galilee when they woke Jesus during a raging storm and declared, “Don’t you care that we are drowning?”
I finally understood the fear they experienced.
Fears overwhelm us.
Death feels close.
Panic is in our voices.
But then, with fear growing, we look at Jesus and discover that He is there.
He is there with a look of comfort on His face and with no fear.
How can He be so calm in this storm? Doesn’t he know we are about to go down?
And Jesus replies, “You don’t understand. I know this boat. I know what I have planned for you. You are fine. I’ll bring you safely home. Enjoy the ride.”
- I am convinced that as I go through this life, that sometimes God calms the storm… sometimes He doesn’t. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.
It’s funny how a glance at the face of our captain, Jesus, can change a fearful storm into an exciting adventure.
A look to the captain’s face can make all the difference in the world.