All of us will go through storms in our lives. Every marriage faces seasons of disagreements or disputes, but some seasons feel like violent, earth-shaking storms.
We go through storms related to parenting. We go through financial storms. We go through relationship storms. Sometimes it feels like our family is splintering.
One thing that makes these storms feel even worse is that God seems to be quiet during the most intense parts of the storms. Everything may be raging around us and we cry out to God in frustration or despair—and our prayers are met with deafening silence.
Silence is distressing. Silence is disturbing. It feels like God has turned His back on us. How do we deal with that silence?
There’s a story in the Gospels about Jesus and the disciples in the midst of an incredible storm on the Sea of Galilee.
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side.’ Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.”—Mark 4:35-37
The disciples are trying to get from Point A to Point B. They’re in the middle of the lake when bad weather hits. It rocks the boat and the disciples become afraid. But when they look for Jesus, they find him “sleeping on a cushion” (verse 38).
They wake Jesus up and He performs a miracle, commanding the wind and waves to calm down. “Why are you so afraid?” He asks them. “Do you still have no faith?”
There are three truths we can learn from this story.
1. Jesus is still in your boat. When you go through a storm, remember Jesus is still with you. He hasn’t left you or forsaken you. He promised to be with you to the end of the age and He is keeping this promise.
The rain is falling on the disciples. The waves are rocking the boat. The sea is threatening them. The disciples were afraid, but Jesus was there the entire time. He never left the boat. Even during the storms—even when we look for Him and don’t see Him—he is present.
2. He is still in control. Jesus may have been momentarily hidden from the disciples because He was sleeping on a cushion, but don’t read into this that He didn’t care about the situation. Jesus died for us, which is proof once and for all that He cares. If He slept, it must have been for another reason.
May I suggest to you that He’s silent every now and then because He’s just not stressed out by storms? He is still in control. He was sleeping like a baby because He was the director of that entire scene. He’s the Alpha Omega, beginning and end, the writer, director and star. He knew how everything was going to play out.
You may feel battered by storms and may wonder where Jesus is in the midst of it. The truth is that He is there with you, and He’s going to get you to the other side. You and your spouse may have been fighting for a long time, but He will make sure you get to the other side—and He’s in control. He’s got the whole world in His hands.
3. He will act. By His grace, for His glory, in His time, God will act. That’s what He does. I don’t know what happened on that boat after the disciples found Jesus. I don’t know how they woke Him up (or how they decided which one of them should wake Him up).
But I do know that He woke up. He turned to the wind and the waves and said, “Quiet. Be still.” Creation was calmed.
My favorite part is at the end of this story. The disciples see Him calm the storm and wonder to themselves, “Who is this guy? Even the wind and waves obey Him.” After they come through the storm, they know something about Jesus they didn’t know before. On the other side of the silence, they experience Jesus in a richer, fuller way.
You may be going through a marriage storm or a parenting storm. It may appear that God has abandoned you during these trials. But know that He is still with you, He is still in control, and at the perfect time, He will act. When He does, you will experience restoration. You’ll experience freedom and forgiveness.
Best of all, He’ll use this season of silence to show you more of Himself.