This winter we've been pounded with rain and wind. Just this morning, in fact, I got up to find the neighbours' "tent garage" in our back yard. It's calm again with relatively flat seas, but there have been some notable exceptions over the past several months.
For two days before Christmas we were without ferry service - my heart went out to people sitting in a line up waiting to get home for the big event. For some, getting back didn't happen until mid-day Dec. 25. When the ferry finally resumed sailing, at least the trip took its usual 90 minutes each way. Not so a couple of weeks earlier.
On that occasion, the captain's decision to head for home port proved to be an unwise and potentially dangerous one. Partway across the straits conditions became too treacherous to continue. The ship pulled into a sheltered area alongside Texada Island and there it sat and sat and sat. Ninety minutes turned into long agonizing hours. By the time the ship finally reached its destination frustratingly near half a day had gone by. Some passengers told the local media it was one of the most frightening experiences of their life.
Jesus' disciples had a taste of that kind of terror. Though not the Pacific Ocean, the waters of the Sea of Galilee are known for sudden and violent storms. Their boat, a fraction of the size of the Queen of Burnaby, was in danger of capsizing. "We're going to die" they called out in terror, as Jesus slept. It was then "He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." (Mark 4:39 NIV)
Peace doesn't come from "no storms" but from knowing Christ is near.