Jn.6:20- but Jesus called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. You know who I am.”
This is an interesting conflict, the disciples were first scared of the storm and then they were afraid of the Lord. This conflict reminds me of the drama we have all faced dealing with the storm season of 2021. The disciples had no idea how intense things were going to get that night. They had rowed across the Sea of Galilee so many times without having a night like this. Suddenly they were caught up in the storm of their lives….. to say they were afraid was an understatement. Maybe that’s how you felt that Sunday night that Ida bore down on us. What started as a minor inconvenience escalated to a night of uncertainty and fear. Suddenly, weird theological questions become relevant. Does He know what I am going through? Does He even care? What does He want me to do? These questions are not new and are as old as mankind. Here is how one of the reformers, Johann Wild, from the early days of the reformation explained this passage:
“This is the comforting voice which calms all storms and drives away all fears, giving peace and joy to the godly. Unless we hear this voice, that is, unless we believe that Christ is with us in tribulation, we will always be afraid. But note that this utterance, “It is I,” sounds very different to the ears of the wicked, as we will see below. Note also that Christ does not forbid all fear. There is, in fact, a good fear, as when we fear to sin, to offend God, to lose grace. Christ does not forbid this sort of fear; indeed, he requires it. Those who do not fear, or those who are fearless, will not be justified. “Blessed is the one who is always fearful.” He forbids only that fear which is joined to faithlessness.”
I guess we have to end up on one side or the other- afraid of being tossed to and fro by the storms of this life, or dealing with the fear and uncomfortable place of yielding totally to the Lord. At the end of the day that’s what all storms are about- they are about ultimate surrender to the Lord. He is here in the midst of it all longing to teach us how to walk on water with Him.