There has long been discussion in theological and philosophical circles about God’s involvement in the world and in the lives of human beings. Was he like a great watchmaker who created the world, wound it up, then let it run down, or does he have ongoing sovereignty over nature? How do we understand volcanoes, earthquakes and storms and the destruction that often goes with such natural phenomena?
Here’s the latest in my “Amazing Meetings” series where I “interview” people who met Jesus. My interview today is with a boatie who plied his trade on the waters around Palestine at the time when Jesus was living there.
Hello, you had a fascinating meeting with Jesus. We’d love to hear about it.
Thanks for the opportunity to tell me story. I’ve been fishing and sailing around here for years and I’ve sailed through many storms in my time but I’ve never had an experience like this.
How did Jesus come to be in your boat in the middle of the lake?
He had been pretty popular at the time. Wherever Jesus went great crowds of people would follow him. Whenever people gathered, Jesus would take the opportunity to speak to them and teach them about the Kingdom of Heaven. I used to love listening to him. He is a great teacher and everyone who put his words into action found that it radically changed their lifestyle. But I could imagine that sometimes the crowds became too much for Jesus, and he just needed to get away. He was near the edge of the lake teaching, and came over to me to ask me to take him to the other side of the lake.
So he wanted to get away from the crowds?
Well, he wasn’t running away from the crowds, because the people would walk around and be on the other side waiting for him when he got there. But it was a time for him to get away and spend some time in prayer and meditation. He seemed to have the capacity to give of himself to others quite sacrificially, then he could withdraw and gain spiritual sustenance to keep going. On this occasion he went to sleep. I reckon he needed it right then.
There’s a rhythm there that we could all learn from, isn’t there?
That’s right. Well, he came and asked me to take him to the other side of the lake, so I took him on board and headed off.
Can you explain to me why it seems to be so stormy out there?
Yes the Sea of Galilee is subject to heavy squalls on a regular basis. You can see there are high mountains around the edge and there’s a big difference between the cold dry air in the hills and the warm topical conditions at water level. As a result there are big temperature and pressure changes, and storms occur on a regular basis.
So tell me about this particular storm.
As I said, Jesus was asleep when this storm started and we were starting to take in water. I’ve been out in that kind of weather before, but it was getting pretty scary and it was looking like we may be swamped.
So you went and woke up Jesus I assume. What did he say?
Here we were, experienced sailors, getting into a panic. Jesus wakes up and calm as you like, he looks around then calls out Peace be still. You wouldn’t believe it, the wind stopped immediately, and of course, the waves stopped as well. It was amazing how quickly the storm stopped.
So you’re saying that that Jesus had the power to stop the storm?
Yes, it was no coincidence. In fact, what Jesus said to us after that was the most interesting thing. He said, “why are you afraid, haven’t you got any faith?” We were stunned because he seemed to be saying that we didn’t even need to worry about the storm. If we trusted him, we could leave things like that in his hands.
It sounds to me that God is more than a great watchmaker. He can control the winds and the waves. I think I need some time to think through that concept. Thanks for sharing your story.