As I write these lines, I’m contemplating one of those great prairies storm through my window. I love thunderstorms. I always did, even growing up in Argentina, in a place very similar to Saskatchewan. While listening to the wind, I remember the time when Jesus calmed the storm in the gospels (Mt. 8:23-27; Mk. 4:35-41; Lk. 8:22-25). And there’s so much we can learn from this episode.
On the one hand, in the storm, we see Jesus in all his humanity: tired and needing some rest. The three gospel’s narratives say that the Lord was sound asleep when this windstorm broke off. But in this same passage, we see Jesus’ divinity in all his glory, rebuking the wind and speaking to the raging sea: “Peace! Be still.” (v. 39).
On the other hand, even though most preachers would use this Scripture to point out the lack of faith and the fear of the disciples, I think here we find one of the most simple and powerful prayers in the Scriptures: “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” (Mat. 8:25).
In its original Greek, the prayer starts with the most cited Christological title in the New Testament: Kyrios (Lord). This title presents the sovereignty, power and government of Jesus Christ over all creation. The significance of Kyrios is evident in the passage we are meditating on today.
The second Greek word that composes this short prayer is sōson, which means “to save, heal or rescue.” Without a doubt, the context of fear, uncertainty, and danger that the disciples were facing brought forth a collective supplication: Save us! This is the kind of prayer that comes out of a heart that is wholly surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus.
The third and final word in this prayer is apollymetha, which means “we are perishing.” This was the kind of word you would use when facing the risk of total destruction.
This is the prayer you would raise to God when you have no clue how to get out of the mess you are in. It’s the prayer of the desperate.
It’s interesting to note that in Genesis 1:2, we read of the Holy Spirit sweeping over the waters (CEB). The image described by Moses in the creation account is also of a dangerous storm: dark over the deep sea (CEB), no firm ground at sight (“the earth was without form and void,” ASV). In the Bible, the sea represents chaos, uncertainty, and confusion, precisely what the disciples were facing that night when heading across Lake Galilee. But, on both occasions, God spoke. In the creation account, to disperse the darkness and bring in the light. And in the Gospels, to stop the furious sea and bring forth peace.
In this time and hour, the whole world is facing maybe the most turbulent storm of the beginning of this century: a global pandemic of a novel virus, economic collapse, and other “waves” that are making the boat of many to be swamped. Christians are not exempt, but the difference is that we are facing this storm together and with the Lord in our boat. We know that, as he promised us, he will take us to the other side of this.
Today I would like to invite you to have the same prayer of the disciples: Lord, save me, that I perish. Let me encourage you to entirely yield your life to the Lord, trusting that he is with you. In the middle of all this chaos, he will bring us peace and rescue us and will show, once again, that he is Lord over all.