When I think of a tempest, I think of two occasions when Jesus calmed a storm. The first can be found in Matthew 14:13-44. It was a very emotional day for Jesus. He had heard of the death of John the Baptist and wanted to get away by himself. The crowds followed Him and He ended up feeding five thousand men plus women and children. He sent the disciples away in a boat while He dismissed the crowd. Later, He walked on the water towards them. Peter got out of the boat and walked towards Jesus but when he looked at the storm, his faith failed. As they got into the boat, the storm died down.
The other story can be found in Matthew 8.
“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.” (verses 24-26 NIV)
It is interesting to me to notice that, in a party including four seasoned fishermen, who understood storms and were experts at managing boats, they should see fit to wake a carpenter to help them.
These stories are among those I like to use for a Biblical meditation.
I read through the story slowly, maybe reading it a second time out loud.
Then I get comfortable, concentrate on breathing deeply and try to imagine myself as one of the characters in the story, perhaps one of the crowd who stayed behind after Jesus dismissed them, or a disciple, maybe the one commissioned to wake the sleeping Jesus.
I invoke all of my senses if I can. I try to feel the wind around me or the grass under me or, if my character is in the boat, the pitching of the waves. What do I see, hear, smell, taste?
I imagine a moment when Jesus and I are alone together. What does He say to me? What do I reply? He gives me something to remind me of our time together.
Some people are helped or encouraged by such a meditation, others not so much. I encourage you to try it, especially if you are in the midst of a tempest. I’d love to hear your feedback about how you experienced it.
Lord Jesus, thank you for my imagination. Please help me to use it to get closer to you. Amen.