An old fisherman once said to me, “Anyone who’s been in a storm at sea in a fishing boat believes in God.” It’s a natural response to pray when we’re terrified.
A boat was the first symbol of the Christian Church. Just as Noah built a boat to rescue the animals and his family from the great flood, so, at a time when, for Christians a death sentence could be as imminent as drowning in a small fishing boat on a raging sea, the Church seemed like an ark to rescue people from the storm. And hearing about the disciples in a small fishing boat caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus calmed the storm, must have been a great encouragement. One time, when Jesus was exhausted and asleep while the disciples struggled to stop the boat capsizing, they shouted at him, “do you not care, we are drowning!” Another time the disciples were in a boat during a gale. Jesus came to them walking on the water, “Take courage, it is I, don’t be afraid,” he said.
Jesus didn’t say, “It’s okay, it’s only me.” His actual words mean, “I Am, do not be afraid.” It wasn’t just for those in the boat then, that he said it, but for everyone, always – for you and me now: “I am, don’t be afraid.” Maybe when we’re afraid we turn to God, but, if we do, it’s not our fear, but his love that will rescue us.
Kings Lynn Minster