God Is Present In All Storms Of Life

Sunday of Week 12 in Ordinary Time - Year B

Job. 38:1,8-11; 2 Cor. 5:14-17 & Mk. 4:35-41

Storms are a familiar phenomena of God’s creation in which the forces of nature are unleashed onto an often unsuspecting neighbourhood. To be caught unawares in a storm while at sea is particularly frightening because there is nowhere to take shelter from the full force of the elements.

In ancient Jewish biblical tradition the destructive forces of nature were described in terms of sea monsters which, from time to time, surfaced to unleash their fury. In recounting the miracle of the calming of the storm, the Gospel literally demonstrates that Jesus, as the Son of God, has absolute control over the forces of nature. “Even the wind and the sea obey Him,” exclaimed the dumbfounded disciples. In the Book of Job we see God command the sea, “Come thus far, I said, and no farther; here and no further; here your proud waves shall break.

The story speaks to us also at a deeper, symbolic level by showing us how to deal with the storms of life. We call these the cares of life. The boat represents the community to which we belong, such as our family or Church or society. The crisis which is symbolised by the stormy sea can come from outside or within us. Externally triggered crises would take the form of a bereavement, or the sudden loss of a job, or the infidelity of a spouse in a marital relationship. Crises within us could be a physical illness or a mental breakdown, or a chaotic surge of emotions – anger, lust, fear and guilt. In such circumstances our lives are turned upside down and our relationships tossed about violently. We can learn some important lessons about crises in life and how to handle them by reflecting on today’s Gospel story.

The disciples were in the process of crossing from land on one side of the water to the other when the storm occurred. Likewise, life’s crises involve a crossing from one stage of growth to a higher, in the process of becoming transformed into a new creature in Christ. And, like the storm at sea, crises descend on us quickly without much warning.

We have to stay put and face the crisis and not take the easy way out. The disciples, although in a panic, stay in the boat hoping to weather the storm. Similarly, in life’s crises too, we must stand firm. For example, the infidelity of a spouse inevitably creates a severe crisis in a marriage, but to rush off and end the marriage might cause much deeper crises, especially when the couple have children. By staying put and working through their crisis, with God’s help, the marriage can not only be healed but transformed into a deeper union than before.

In a crisis, God is near us, even though He seems distant or non-existent. Jesus was asleep in the boat, seemingly oblivious to the storm, and so the disciples cried out to Him. We, too, should always turn to the Lord with faith during our crises, even if He seems distant, because it is precisely in those moments that the Lord is nearest to us. His power will make us emerge from the crisis strengthened, and with a deeper knowledge of God.

After the calming of the storm the disciples were filled with awe and were led to a deeper faith in Jesus. Similarly, in the story of Job, after God has delivered him from his crisis, Job confesses his more intimate knowledge of God. “I knew You by hearsay then, now I have seen You with my own eyes.” May we be like the disciples and Job after we have weathered the storms of life.