I went to the beach the other day. I got up early, gathered my wetsuit and surf wax, chucked my board in the car, and was keen for some waves. The only problem was that when I got to the beaches, the ocean was far from inspiring. It’s a rare day when not even the stand-up paddle board guys are out off the point. I checked a few beaches, but there was nobody surfing. On my little 6″ thruster? No chance. A quick swim was refreshing (read: cold), and I spent the time catching up on a bit of time in the word.
Matthew 8 was the chapter I was reading. Here’s an excerpt:
“And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”
(Matthew 8:23-27 ESV)
Friends, we are really small. As I read that passage, alone on the sand at Collaroy beach, there was anything but a tempest before me. The waves were tiny, and only broke about two metres from the sand. I was trying to imagine how I might go about stopping them. Even though these waves were insignificant, they are far beyond my power to control. These half-metre curls of salty water, and the light offshore breeze were the mildest of all weather conditions. Even so, if I were asked to stop them, I would be way out of my proverbial depth. It is easy to think “wow, Jesus calmed a storm.” A big part of this, however, is remembering that as humans, we are subject to the world. We are feeble and miniscule in the scope of creation.
Across the Pacific, things were anything but pacific. This was the morning that Sandy struck the coast of America. The East of Sydney was a paragon of peace. The east of New York, the opposite. Between coming and going, I spent about two hours in the car that morning, and heard constant updates about the progress of the Frankenstorm. People evacuating, the president issuing warnings, rain, wind, jokes about canned food and cabin fever.
The storm that Jesus calmed was a significant squall. My guess is that it had nothing on Sandy. But we believe that God is powerful, and in control of the world he created. He has the power to stop such storms as Sandy. Think about how big that storm was. Yes, God is bigger. Bigger than the quakes in haiti. Bigger than the Asian Tsunami. Bigger than the flood of Noah.
I could jump around fruitlessly trying to stop the ripples at Collaroy. If I’d tried, it would have been to no avail. He need merely speak and the world is at his command. I was humbled.
“For I know that the LORD is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the LORD pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.”
(Psalm 135:5-7 ESV)
[Also have a look at Job 37 – God is amazing, and fearsome!]