The winter storms are becoming more than a little tedious in the UK. For the last month it seems as if hardly a day has gone by without most of the country getting lashed by wind and rain. Coastal regions have suffered badly with erosion causing cliff-top houses to fall onto the beach on the East Coast.
As a child I used to enjoy storms. My parents didn’t know but my group of friends used to play a dare game that involved climbing down the rocks to see who could get closest to the storm waves without getting wet. Even afloat the storms didn’t bother me. I remember one journey back from Sark to Guernsey in a small inter-island ferry when everyone succumbed to seasickness except for my grandfather and I. He spent the short voyage home trying to keep hold of me as I ran around the boat excited by the storm. As a child I simply didn’t see any danger.
A few years later when serving at sea I experienced many storms, particularly when crossing the North Atlantic. While the danger of the storm was now more obvious I continued to find storms exhilarating. The only problem with days of stormy weather at sea is that it becomes very difficult to sleep. One solution I used to use was to jam my lifejacket under my mattress to shape the mattress and reduce the risk of being thrown out of my bunk. Another was to put the mattress onto the deck of my cabin.
Given how difficult it is to sleep in a storm it seems incredible that Jesus managed to sleep through a seriously bad storm in a small boat in the middle of Lake Galilee. The reason Jesus was flat out while the wind and waves lashed the tiny boat was that he was exhausted. We might not expect the Son of God to get tired, but this incident reminds us that Jesus was human like us. Jesus needed to sleep so badly that he managed to sleep through the storm. Most of us find it impossible to sleep in a storm, be it a real storm on the ocean, or one of the many storms of life that seem to blow up with monotonous regularity. How easy it is to forget that Jesus is in the boat with us. When the disciples woke Jesus He showed how much more than human He was. He spoke to the storm and the sea became calm and the wind became a gentle breeze. It is usually only after the storm has passed that we can hear the voice of God speaking to us in the gentle breeze.
While Elijah was on Mount Sinai, the Lord asked, “Elijah, why are you here?” He answered, “Lord God All-Powerful, I’ve always done my best to obey you. But your people have broken their solemn promise to you. They have torn down your altars and killed all your prophets, except me. And now they are even trying to kill me!”
“Go out and stand on the mountain,” the Lord replied. “I want you to see me when I pass by.” All at once, a strong wind shook the mountain and shattered the rocks. But the Lord was not in the wind. Next, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
Finally, there was a gentle breeze, and when Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave. The Lord asked, “Elijah, why are you here?” (1 Kings 19:9b-13 NIV)