Updated: Jan 31, 2021
If your livelihood is fishing, one of the fiercest enemies to face, along with the wind and waves, is seasickness. Usually, a calm boat ride is tolerable, but when the waves start churning and a violent tempest takes control of the sea, even the hardiest, most robust fisherman hits the deck and is powerless to help his crew bring in the daily catch from nets heavy-laden with fish. An entire day’s yield can be compromised by one crew member’s absence. That can be disastrous for a commercial fishing crew, since in many locations the fishing season is very short.
When my son was a commercial salmon fisherman in Bristol Bay, Alaska, our mobile phone conversations were few and far between while he was at sea. He called from the boat one day, and as we were talking, he shouted abruptly, “WHOA! BIG WAVE, MOM! GOTTA GO!!!” Click. That was it…for a long time. Several days later he called to say all was well. The winds had come up suddenly, and the waves tossed their boat around mercilessly, but they made it through the storm. Answered prayer. Even though the dreaded seasickness was controlled among the crew, no one could control the elements.
Some enemies are controllable; some are not. Imagine the fear the disciples felt when their boat was seized by a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee. Matthew 8:24-27 records it like this: Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”
But Jesus was sleeping. That’s a pretty big “but.” How could Jesus sleep through such a terrifying event, while the disciples were freaking out, realizing that disaster was swallowing them alive! I wonder how they woke Him—did they shake Him? Yell? Hit him on the head with pillows or blankets? (He was sleeping on a cushion, after all.) But, Jesus, being fully-God, did not succumb to fear, for He had the omnipotent power of God within Him. However, being fully-man, His human body was exhausted from a day of ministry, so He slept.
Certainly, no one could even think of sleeping on the storm-tossed fishing boat my son was on that night in Bristol Bay! I believe the same Jesus who slept on the disciples’ boat, was on my son’s fishing boat, too. The Lord calmed the wind and waves and brought them to safety. In the days that followed, I prayed for the wind velocity to maintain a speed of not more than 15 mph, and it did! The unusually calm sea during that particular fishing season was a popular topic of conversation among the fishermen. It was remarkable, they commented.
It was Jesus, and He still calms storms today. Maybe your storm is a swirling torrent of turmoil within—fear of disease or death or COVID-19. Maybe it’s financial ruin or marital collapse. It may seem like Jesus is asleep on your boat, but do what the disciples did, and call on the name of the Lord! Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me (Psalm 50:15 NASB).
© 2020, Chris Werre