Tell Me the Stories of Jesus
by Kristin Schoeff
“Tell me the stories of Jesus I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me if He were here.
Scenes by the wayside, tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus, tell them to me.”
These words to a song I sang as a little girl in Sunday School came back to me as I thought about today’s passage—a familiar gospel story about Jesus and His disciples. Isn’t it easy to think, “Oh, yes, this story! I know it well”? After all, it’s the familiar cast of characters—Jesus and his sometimes faith-filled, sometimes bumbling disciples—in a familiar setting: in a boat in the Sea of Galilee.
This particular story has a surprise element or two. Have you, like me, wondered how Jesus could sleep through a “furious squall” that threatened to sink His boat? Reading Mark Chapters 3 & 4 gives us clues as to why. They tell of Jesus day after day teaching and ministering to crowds of people, sometimes not even finding time to eat. That is wearing to any human body. This particular day, Jesus finally left the crowd behind at evening to cross the Sea of Galilee for another day of ministry. It seems fair to assume that he was bone tired. Tired enough to fall into a deep sleep as the boat headed across the water.
And now we notice the disciples, some of whom were professional fishermen who had spent their lives on boats in this very lake. When the squall suddenly blows up and the boat begins to fill with water, these disciples do what anyone might—they panic!
They go running to their Rabbi, who always has just the right answer for difficult situations, and they find Him sleeping! They sound almost petulant as they say, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Without answering, Jesus gets up and speaks to the wind and waves and instantly calms them. Then He turns and asks His own question: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Suddenly, I find myself in this story that seemed so well-known to me. The angry, accusing voice in me saying, “Lord, don’t you care?” when my sister lay dying of cancer in what should have been the middle years of her life. “Lord, don’t you care?” when painful turmoil continued unabated in our family through those difficult teen years. All the times when I would question in my heart whether His promise never to leave or forsake us really applied to me.
I used to think that Jesus’ questions to His disciples – “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”—were chastising them for the fear they felt in the storm and for their lack of confidence in Him. But as I paused and meditated on His words this time, I wondered if rather they were a response to their question: “Lord, don’t you care…?” Now I can hear Jesus speaking with a voice of compassion and great love: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still not trust my great love for you? Haven’t I proven it time and time again?”
Lord Jesus, when the storms come in our lives, help us fix our eyes on you and the great love you have shown us by laying down your life for us. Help us to grow in our trust and faith that you will truly never leave us or forsake us. In your precious name we pray, Amen.