Sudden storms are common on the Sea of Galilee, and in today’s Gospel, we find Jesus’ disciples battling a storm in the middle of the night. They were experienced fishermen and they knew the power of the sea. But if the disciples were frightened by the storm, they were truly terrified when, as they thought, they saw a ghost walking across the waves towards them. Peter recognised Jesus and, at first, put his faith in the Lord, walking across the waves towards them. But Peter panicked when he felt the wind, and he needed Jesus to save him. The disciples were in awe when they saw that Jesus had power over the wind and the sea – surely only God can control the forces of nature?
This Gospel story is both a demonstration of Jesus’ power as Son of God, and a symbol of the Christian life. As we journey through life, we sometimes face high winds and rough seas. We may feel afraid and wonder if we can make it through. Or, like Peter, we may be ready to put our trust in Jesus, but then panic when we see what we are up against. Sometimes, we have to experience those moments of panic to remind us that we do depend completely on God.
The coronavirus pandemic is a storm that has turned our whole world upside down. We have learned that the forces of nature are not always under our control, and we are left wondering what the future holds. This strange and disturbing time is the right time to renew our faith in Christ, the one who does have power to calm all the storms that threaten us. Like Elijah, we will encounter the Lord, not in the violence of the storm, but in the quiet of the gentle breeze.