Is Jesus Asleep in the Boat in the Midst of the COVID-19 Storm?

  • March 2020

More and more countries are closing their borders, schools and universities are closed, and many are being ordered to shelter in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s easy to give in to fear, panic, and fending for ourselves; much like the disciples did when they saw the fierce storm and the huge waves as they were crossing the lake with Jesus (Mark 4:35-41). As they struggled to row in the midst of the storm, they were literally in the same boat with Jesus, the Creator of the universe, who was sleeping in the stern. The disciples only saw the furious squall and the waves breaking over the boat, so they woke Jesus up and cried out, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

Lord, don’t you care that the world is being infected by a virus that we can’t see, touch or control?  Don’t you see that our kids have to stay at home now or are being sent home from college, that our upcoming travels and events have been cancelled, and that we might eventually run out of toilet paper?  Don’t you care?

How did Jesus respond?  “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, Why are you so afraid?  Do you still have no faith?’

And the disciples were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)

Jesus cares and is certainly NOT asleep!

Jesus does care, He is certainly NOT asleep on the boat, and He is definitely with us!  The Maker of heaven and earth promises us in Psalm 121 that He watches over us and will neither slumber nor sleep.  Jesus is still very much in control, and He wants us to choose faith over fear when we are in the storm of a spreading virus.

Faith is a daily decision we make in how we will respond to our circumstances based on where we have put our trust – in the news, in our government, in our families, or in the Creator and Savior of our universe, our good, good Father, our Almighty God who knows our every need and hears our every prayer!  May we exercise our faith muscles, get to know Jesus better in the midst of the storm, and worship Him even more so we can echo the disciples’ amazement: “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey Him!” 

May we keep our eyes on Jesus and choose faith over fear in the midst of the pandemic. Here are a few ways to help us exercise faith instead of fear in the midst of the storm:

  1. Be smart and wash your hands. Follow the guidelines, orders, and recommendations from your local or federal government, keep safe distances between others, and wash your hands frequently.
  2. Stay calm and remember that Jesus is in control.  Use the extra time at home to recall how you have seen God at work in the past and research, write down, and discuss Bible verses that talk about God’s character, His power, His protection and His presence with us.  All throughout Scripture, God is constantly reminding His people, “Do not fear…for I am with you!”  Jesus cares and is in control.
  3. Pray, pray, pray!  Ask the Lord to calm the storm of the spreading virus, to heal the sick, to protect our families and loved ones, and to turn our nations back to Him. This is an opportunity to live missionally and depend on God’s protection against a virus we cannot see, touch or control.  It’s also a time to learn about and pray for all the nations affected and for those who don’t know Jesus or have the hope we have in Him.  Pray for all the nations that have the virus, and pray that God’s kingdom will come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
  4. Re-read the Gospels to have your vision and hope in Jesus enlargedand spend more time in worship.  Listen to online podcasts, sermons and worship songs, experience them in a different language, and worship in creative ways through music, dance, art, etc.!
  5. Find creative ways to share the love of Jesus with those you know, especially those who are elderly, alone, or scared.  Just this past Sunday, we experienced a HUGE answer to prayer!  My husband and I have been praying for our elderly landlady and friend Laura the past 2½ years, and when we saw her on Sunday morning to pay the rent, she tearfully asked us to bring her to church with us that day because she needs healing, peace and a relationship with the Lord!  We were able to bring her to church, pray with her and spend time with her on Sunday afternoon, and we continue to pray she will come to know our Lord and Savior in a personal way!  Let’s use this storm to be extra creative to share hope, life and love to those in need of our Savior!

by Wendy Der-Ramos, Director of Mobilization and Missionary to Mexico