Art: “Jesus Calming the Storm,” by Wang Suda. No date. Société des Auxiliaires des Missions (SAM) China Photograph Collection, Whitworth University Library, Spokane.
Available online at: https://digitalcommons.whitworth.edu/g31_chinese_art1/6/
Written by Ashley Oliver, Pastor of Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church, Harrisonburg, VA
When Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm suddenly arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”Matthew 8:23-27
Jesus is right there with the disciples. The water is crashing up against the boat, the waves are tackling it from all angles, and the wind is roaring. The disciples, recognizing the power of the sea, are afraid for their lives.
Jesus is right there with them.
Amidst the worst of the storm, Jesus is there. The disciples, each with a death grip on the boat, plead to Jesus to help them – while the disciples recognize the power of the sea, they also recognize the power of Jesus. With his powerful hands and mighty calm presence, Jesus calms the storm.
As you journey through Lent, may you remember Jesus is with you. In the wilderness, Jesus is with you. In the midst of the storms you might face between now and Easter, Jesus is with you. You might suffer at times. You might have hard days. You might feel like you’re drowning at times. You might feel like you are being tackled from all angles. At times, you might feel as though every voice but God’s is roaring in your mind – Jesus is and will be right there with you.
It is clear that the truth of Jesus’ presence does not mean the trials we go through are magically fixed or that the storms we face are calmed instantly. Perhaps it simply means we are not alone in those trials or in those storms. Perhaps Jesus’ presence might bring you some calm, the way he did for the disciples at sea. I pray this comforts you the way it comforts me.
Find previous “Picturing God” entries here:
Monday, March 27: In Which Basil the Great Annoys an American
Art: “In Which Basil the Great Annoys an American” by Charlie Baber, used with artist’s permission Available online at:…
Friday, March 24: The Ladder and the Cross
Art: “Nailing of Christ to the Cross (Cell 36)” by Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Available online at:…
Wednesday, March 22: The True Meaning of the Scapegoat
Art: “Sending Out the Scapegoat” by William James Webb, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Available online at: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Webb_Sending_Out_the_Scapegoat.jpg Written…
Monday, March 20: Abraham’s Sacrifice
Art: “Abraham’s Sacrifice” by Rembrandt Van Rijn, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Available online at:…
Friday, March 17: The Trinity
Art: “The Trinity,” by Andrei Rublev, Public domain, via Wikimedia CommonsCollection, Whitworth University Library, Spokane Available online at:…