Psalm 107:23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
         Who do business on great waters,
 24 They see the works of the LORD,
         And His wonders in the deep.
 25 For He commands and raises the stormy wind,
         Which lifts up the waves of the sea.
 26 They mount up to the heavens,
         They go down again to the depths;
         Their soul melts because of trouble.
 27 They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man,
         And are at their wits’ end.
 28 Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble,
         And He brings them out of their distresses.
 29 He calms the storm,
         So that its waves are still.
 30 Then they are glad because they are quiet;
         So He guides them to their desired haven.

From John 6:16-24
To be in a boat at night in the middle of a storm is the best place to learn how small and powerless you really are. Jesus is not with His disciples, and it is dark, John tells us. The wind is whipping the waves into a storm.

John does not indicate that the storm is particularly frightening to the disciples, many of who are seasoned fisherman. They keep pulling at their oars for a respectable three miles.

What frightened them, what really scared them, was not the storm but the sight of a figure walking toward them on the water, occasionally lit up by flashes of lightening.  Where do you flee in the middle of such a storm when a ghost is heading straight for you?

We do not learn what they might have shouted above the roar of the wind. Perhaps they yelled at the apparition to simply go away.

Their fear and confusion vanished when they heard the sound of a familiar voice. “I AM, don’t be afraid.” John does not give the detail of the calming of the storm; rather he seems satisfied to have told us of the calming of the disciples instead.

Jesus asks us to look, not at the conditions that surround us, stormy as they may be. He only asks that we acknowledge His presence, the I AM  of who He is. Even as He chose not to spare the disciples from the initial fear of the storm, so we are often left for a time to ride out the waves and listen for the sound of His voice.

Taken from “Parable of Joy: Reflection on the Wisdom of the Book of John


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