I attended a Priesthood Leadership Meeting this evening, and one of the speakers was our Area Authority Seventy. He shared an insight about the miracle recorded in Mark 4:36 — 41, where Jesus calmed the stormy seas.
This miracle has always been immensely meaningful for me, hopefully for obvious reasons. There are many times when I have felt tossed by stormy seas, and in those times, I have had to rely on the Master, who has power over the storms. But our Area Seventy pointed out something about this story I’d never thought of before.
The scripture doesn’t say that the disciples feared during the storm. It just says that they awoke Him and asked, “Carest thou not that we perish?” But who were the disciples? Several of them were experienced fishermen. They knew how to handle a boat. They had probably weathered a storm or two. They were not strangers to this sea.
It’s easy to think of them just holding on for dear life and begging the Master to do something. But the Savior did not choose weak, ineffectual men to be His eventual Apostles. These were strong, vibrant men. No doubt they were doing their best to fight the storm. One was probably at the helm, another manning the ropes and sails, perhaps others bailing. They were not sitting idly by waiting for somebody to come and save them.
This made me think of that moment when the Master sadly looked on His fearful disciples, and asked them, “How is it that ye have no faith?” What did He mean? Wasn’t there implicit in their cry for help, “Carest thou not that we perish,” a rather solid faith that He who slept in the ship had power to do something about the storm if He but cared to take notice of it? In fact, it sounds rather more like a very presumptuous rebuke. ”We know that thou hast power to calm these seas. Why haven’t you delivered us? Do you not care that we are about to be swallowed by the sea?”
I think that when the Savior looked on His fearful disciples and rebuked their lack of faith, that maybe He wasn’t condemning their lack of faith in Him, but rather their lack of faith in themselves—in their ability, using the gifts and talents God had already given them—to navigate the foul weather and endure to the end of the storm.
I can hardly believe that Jesus was so oblivious to His surroundings that He didn’t notice the raging storm around Him. It makes more sense to me that He did notice the storm, and then thinking of who helmed this ship—those great men He had chosen, men like Peter, James, John, and Andrew, whose capabilities He knew so well—that He took comfort and slept peacefully, knowing that the ship was in competent, faithful hands.
How He must have sorrowed, then, when they awoke Him and demanded direct intervention. Did He look on them and think, “Have I not already given you all the gifts and talents you need to weather this storm? Why do you not have faith in what I have already given you? Why do you demand more rather than using what you have? Why do you doubt your ability to endure to the end of this storm in the strength of the tremendous blessings you have already received?”
And of course, that made me think of the many times I have been guilty of the same thing. The Lord has given me storms to weather, including tumultuous seas of confused gender identity. But He also gave me what I needed to navigate those storms. And yet so many times, I have thought that He slumbered nonchalantly, and have wanted to wake Him and demand that He calm the storm.
In truth, He has never slept. He has watched with me through every storm. If He does not intervene immediately in every trial, perhaps that is not a sign that He has abandoned me, but rather a sign that He trusts me; that He has faith that I will steer aright. Perhaps He is showing me that He has given me what I need already, and that if I will have faith in those gifts He has already given me, I will have no need to demand that He still every wind and wave.