Photo and Commentary ©2024 by Robert Howson
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Perfectly at ease in what looks like a fearful situation are two male Harlequin Ducks. Of course we should remember that telephoto lenses can distort distances, but even without this twist, we might find ourselves fearful if put in the same situation. But this is where these marine ducks spend their winter, on the edge of crashing waves and tidal action. We might argue that that is the reason these ducks were seemingly at ease – because they were used to that setting.

But let’s take another example familiar to us of those who were accustomed to those conditions. It involves fishermen, those who spent their lives on the water and knew how wet water could get. The story is recorded in several places but we’ll look at how Mark tells the story in chapter 4 of his gospel. “A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (verses 37-38 NIV) You remember how the story ends, but we shouldn’t overlook verse 41.

Two points: first of all, Jesus wasn’t at peace because He was familiar with storms. He was at peace because He knew the One who could control the storm. And secondly, isn’t it interesting where Mark chooses to put his emphasis upon the disciples’ fear. Now it’s likely that he wasn’t in the boat at the time, but still, he doesn’t mention fear in the context of the storm. He places their terror after the storm had died down, after their Friend calmed the seas.

I have to believe I personally would have been overcome with emotion in both circumstances, certainly in the grasp of the storm, but maybe even more in the grasp of the realization of who it really was that was there with me. In no way do I want experience the powerful clutches of the waves, but I never want to be blasé about the power of my God.