“But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt” (Isaiah 57:20).
The sunset whale watching tour was going to be awesome. Kind of like when I gave my life to Christ and expected a glorious ride on smooth seas soaking in nothing but the magnificence of God.
But just like my life as a Christian, a smooth trip was not what I experienced.
The boat stopped to lower a sonar so we could listen to the whales, hundreds of them singing songs from the depths beneath our boat. It was amazing… for about five seconds. As the waves rocked the boat, I started singing a song of my own, and its name was misery. The nauseous, clammy grip of motion sickness stole my joy and put a serious dent in my will to live.
Free Willy himself could have swum up next to the boat and called my name, and it wouldn’t have mattered one bit to me. I was miserable. My husband judiciously stationed himself between me and the rail in case I decided to throw myself overboard—a thought that had definite appeal.
The world we are living in feels like a turbulent sea but that shouldn’t surprise us. God's Word tells us why when it says, "the wicked are like the troubled sea." Synonyms for the word wicked include things like bad, damaging, dangerous, evil, harmful, hurtful, noxious, and prejudicial. In a world where wickedness seems to be flourishing, we're going to find ourselves sailing in choppy water.
It’s enough to make us as nauseous as my ill-fated boat excursion. It’s enough to tempt us to throw ourselves overboard, or at the very least, throw in the towel.
Like with my bout of motion sickness, I wonder how many others have a propensity to stop caring once they reach a certain level of misery.
Maybe the disciples felt like this when they followed Jesus’ request to get in the boat and cross the Sea of Galilee (see Matthew 8). They were riding high on a successful and growing ministry until Jesus talked them into a boat ride that turned into suicide sail.
“Now when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with waves. But He was asleep.” (Matthew 8:23-24)
I’d say these disciples were feeling overwhelmed, unstable, helpless, and afraid. Maybe they even felt a bit of resentment toward Jesus. They willingly followed Him onto the boat and now He was napping in the middle of their crisis.
But we aren’t promised an easy life just because we are followers of Jesus Christ—we’re promised an eternal life.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NIV)
Jesus—the ultimate Dramamine patch. He has told us what is coming and revealed to us the true source of peace, no matter how troubled the waters may get.
When the disciples gave their attention to the storm, all they could see was peril. But when they cried out to Jesus, things changed.
He rebuked the winds and sea and according to Mark 4:39, “the wind ceased and there was a great calm.” He didn’t make the sea disappear or transport the disciples to dry ground. He just stilled the wind and established a great calm.
By this Jesus demonstrated His authority over nature, but what about the storms of our hearts?
It’s hard not to give our full attention to the political turmoil of our nation, to focus on concerns about our physical wellbeing, or to stress over financial struggles. Few of us are untouched by at least one storm right now.
Our hearts are weary and seasick.
How do we keep the waves of wickedness from overwhelming us? How do we hold on in the churning waters that threaten to paralyze us with fear? How do we even think about moving forward?
We look to Jesus to calm the storms raging in our hearts. He can still the winds of worry, doubt, fear, frustration, and confusion.
Are we willing to cry out as the disciples did, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!”?
Jesus can silence the storms in our hearts and give us peace.
“Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Jesus alone is the cure for a troubled heart. He alone gives a peace that transcends the wickedness of this world. He can silence every storm and calm the waves of evil crashing against our hearts.
I, for one, do not want to hear Jesus say to me, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?”