Throughout my life, a bevy of Bible stories have greatly shaped my thinking. Mine is a story-driven faith.
One of those stories is the one in which Jesus and his disciples find themselves in the grip of a raging Galilean storm.
Only once have I been to Galilee, and on that occasion I witnessed the suddenness and the ferocity of the storms in that area. I watched the clouds gather and explode over the bowl-shaped lake. I recalled the many times my Sunday school teachers had spoken of storms over that sea and, with the help of paper figures stuck to a flannel graph board, described the fear of the disciples and the calmness of Jesus.
Years later I would compare that story to John Wesley's experience aboard a ship in the North Atlanta when he observed a group of Moravian missionaries worship on the deck of a similarly storm-tossed boat.
In the days of Sunday school, we children would often dramatize the storm story. Because I was the preacher's kid, I was always cast as the sleeping Jesus in the back of the chair/boat. While the "disciples" lost their calm in the face of the rising waves, it was my responsibility to dramatically rise and shout out, "Peace! Be still."
Years later I came to see another aspect to the storm story that I do not recall the teacher ever highlighted. It was the moment after the storm had ended, the moment where I now imagine Jesus whirling around to the terrified disciples—with the air of a disappointed teacher—saying, "Where in the world is your faith?"
In this context, the question really meant, "What have you learned about yourselves in the last few minutes? Has anything I've taught you taken root in your hearts?" There must have followed an intensive seminar on the inevitability of stormy, ...