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The Storm Inside

Read: John 6:16-21

It is I; do not be afraid. (v. 20)

Ancient people feared the sea because they could not see beneath its surface. The unknown depths represented a dark mystery. Even for seasoned fishermen like the disciples, rowing across the Sea of Galilee would give them pause. This time their terror was compounded by rowing at night and in a storm. What could be more scary than that? Seeing someone walking on the water in a storm at night!

On another occasion when Jesus was in the boat and a storm rose, he spoke to the wind and waves to rebuke them, “Peace! Be still!” (Mark 4:39) Remarkably, the sea grew calm. On this night, however, Jesus spoke to the storm inside the disciples: “It is I; do not be afraid” (John 6:20). The storm inside was calmed, and “they were glad to take him into the boat” (v. 21), perhaps like a frightened child in the night, relieved to hear a parent say, “It’s me; don’t worry.”

Sometimes the storms inside us are more frightening than the storms that rage outside. Jesus still speaks, “It’s me.” The Greek reads, “I am.” God spoke those words to Moses from the burning bush (Exod. 3:14). Seven other times in John’s gospel, Jesus said, “I am,” to describe who he was. He drew a direct line from the eternal God of Moses to the Jesus who sailed on Galilee and who, by the Holy Spirit, lives in all who call on him today. Take heart, friend, Jesus stills the storm in you. —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, ask Jesus to quiet the storm in you.

About the Author

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.