Bible Studies
The Latest

For Your Weekend: The Perfect Storm

Jeannine Yousif

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read Matthew 14:22–33

We recently had some powerful summer storms come through our small Pennsylvania town. It was as though the skies opened up just seconds before I had to leave to pick up my youngest son from camp. I drive a big car, affectionately nicknamed “Big Mama” by my kids. Yet, the wind was so strong that I had to work to keep her on the road and not in a ditch. The perfect storm of torrential rain, high winds, falling tree limbs, hailstones, and flash floods kept my hands clutching the wheel and the less-than-lovely exclamatory phrases coming out of my mouth! 

Did I want to be out in this? No. I had to be. I couldn’t turn back. My youngest was expecting me: the one most afraid of storms, the one who still wakes us up in the middle of the night if there’s a thunderstorm, the one whose anxiety would rise every minute that passed and he didn’t see Big Mama drive up.

If only the apostles had a Big Mama-sized boat for the perfect storm they found themselves in Matthew’s gospel for this Sunday. Like myself, the apostles weren’t in their boat on the Sea of Galilee on their own accord or because they were picking up a younger apostle from camp. They were simply following the instructions of their Teacher, who “made the disciples get into a boat and precede him to the other side” (Matthew 14:22). In fact, the use of the word “made” in this verse implies that Jesus had issued a command to His friends, had compelled them. They were in this boat, at this time, simply because they had obeyed Jesus.[1]

At first, the sea appeared calm, easy to cross, especially with experienced fishermen on board. However, the storms in the Sea of Galilee were known to come on suddenly and “progress violently due to the peculiar geography of the region.”[2] 

In the middle of this mighty storm, fighting to maintain control, there may have been thoughts of, “Well, this is the end,” maybe even bitter cries, “Where’s Jesus now? He’s the one who made us come out here!” They had been working most of the night; the passage notes “the fourth watch of the night,” which indicates between 3 and 6 a.m.[3] In Mark’s account, it’s noted that the disciples were being “tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them” (Mark 6:48).

And unlike that other storm—when our Lord was sleeping in the boat—Jesus was not with them.  

Remember those exclamatory comments that I made in Big Mama? It’s not recorded in Scripture, but a few choice words likely slipped out that early morning.

We cannot and will not go through this life without storms. Jesus tells us this in John 16:33: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.” However many times we may read that verse, when we find ourselves amid the storm, we often lose our courage and forget His victory.

Are there any storms you are facing right now that are beyond your control? 

Have you wearied yourself trying to steady and direct the boat on your own? 

Are the circumstances overwhelming? 

Are you anxious or worried that you will even survive it?

Are you exhausted from trying to hold it all together for everyone else, but underneath, you desperately want someone to hold you up? 

Has bitterness or hopelessness crept in—feeling that no matter what you might do now, you are doomed to sink? 

Do you find yourself wishing for relief in whatever form that would come? 

Maybe the thought of just going under, allowing yourself to sink, go numb, and not feel anything at all would be preferable to your current weariness? 

My friend, can you, for a second, look up? Can you look out of the boat and peer through the storm, wind, rain, and surging sea? Can you see Him?

Even if you can’t make Him out, His eyes are on you. He sees you in your boat and whatever you are experiencing. He knows the storm upon you, crashing into you, that unsteadies and frightens you. 

He is not a ghost. He is not a vision designed to make you feel better for a moment. He is the Son of God, who calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves (Psalm 107:29). He is the Lord, Your God, who says, “When you pass through waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2). 

Hear and receive His words, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Maybe today, like Elijah, you need to hear the reminder that His voice is not in the strong and heavy wind or the crushing rocks (1 Kings 19:11). Maybe today it will take a leap of faith, like Peter’s, to call out to our Lord even when you are uncertain He is even there. 

My friend, do you believe Jesus is stronger than any storm you are facing? 

If you waver on that answer, you are not alone. But it is then that we must remember our Lord’s words that even if our faith is the size of a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), that is enough. When we take our eyes off Him, are distracted or afraid, we must take heart and remember that He will not allow us to sink or go under. He will pull us back to Him, to safety. 

Whatever storm we face is the perfect storm for our Lord to display His power and authority, if only we would have more courage than fear to believe this truth.

It is the perfect storm for us to call out to Him, take a leap of faith, and take one step closer to HIm.

It is the perfect storm to reach out and take hold of the Lord’s hand ever reaching out to us.

It is the perfect storm to surrender control and let Him steer us to safety and refuge.

It is the perfect storm to increase our faith, release our doubts and worship Him truly, as the Son of God.

Food for thought or journaling…

Can you take the questions noted in this post to prayer, if only offering a mustard seed-sized bit of faith to our Lord that He will show up and meet you where you are?

Lord, in my storms, help me to remember my littleness. Help me to know and trust that You are bigger than my storms, stronger than my fears, and hold authority over my emotions. Help me to remember that You hold me in the palm of Your hand and that I can find refuge in You.  Amen. 

 [1] David Guzik, “Jesus Displays Authority Over Nature,” Enduring Word (accessed July 26, 2023): https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/matthew-14/.
[2] John Bartenuk, The Better Part: The Gospel of Matthew (Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 2007), 204.
[3] David Guzik, “Jesus Displays Authority Over Nature,” Enduring Word (accessed July 26, 2023): https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/matthew-14/.

Back to


Copyright © 2009-2024 Walking with Purpose, Inc.