I love the story of Jesus in the boat. He is sleeping on a cushion when a storm so frightens the disciples that they wake Him in fear for their lives. His words, “Peace, be still” silence the raging storm.
It is a story of His power and command even over nature’s terrifying violence. I love it so much that I have a print depicting the event hanging in my home.
Today I was blessed with a new look at that scene and how it applies to our lives today. Many saints have written about their struggles with a “dark night” in their lives when God seemed very distant from them; when prayer seemed dry and the human feelings of being close to God evaporated. I have gone through such a time and it is very painful; it’s a struggle to continue crying out to Him, wondering if He’s turned His face away or if you’ve done something wrong.
Since that time in my life I’ve read more about the dark night and have come to understand that it is a time of testing, of teaching one to walk by faith and not by feelings.
This morning I read a passage by St. Therese of Lisieux during her dark night. She wrote:
“[The retreat] was far from bringing me any consolations since the most absolute aridity and almost total abandonment were my lot. Jesus was sleeping as usual in my little boat; ah! I see very well how rarely souls allow Him to sleep peacefully within them … He will undoubtedly awaken before my great eternal retreat … “
That just made me smile, seeing how she connected the passage in Mark with the dark night.
There are times in our lives when Jesus is sleeping in our little boat, or appears to be. But He most certainly is not uncaring. Have faith; in an instant He can calm the most violent storm.
“A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion.
They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm.
Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”
May I always allow the Master to sleep peacefully within.