Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | June 30, 2021

Wind, Storms, & Catamarans

(4 Minute Read. 30Jun2021)

Catamarans on Higgins Lake

Right in front of our lakeside campsite, two days of boat races unfurled!

The Catamaran Racing Association of Michigan held its first regatta of the season on Higgins Lake this past May.

The “cats” we saw were double-hulled crafts with a fabric deck stretched between the two hulls. They were propelled by the wind via two sails, a main sail and an auxiliary jib sail.

The race courses were laid out the morning of each race based on the wind direction. Courses included upwind and downwind segments.

Catamaran racers must pay close attention to the wind and adjust their sails repeatedly to maximize their speed. Little ribbons called tells are attached from the bottom to the top of their sails to indicate wind direction. Sometimes the wind at the top of the sail is different from the wind at the hull.

We enjoyed seeing all the colorful “cats” and talking with several of the racers as they prepared for two days of races.

Wind is essential for sailing catamarans. Even small adjustments to the two sails and the tiller can greatly affect a cat’s speed. The complexity of managing the sails in changing wind conditions was fascinating.

Recently when we were camping on the shore of a large lake, a relentless onshore wind off the lake blew continuously for two whole days at 15-20 mph. It created havoc for many campers as it tumbled chairs, rugs, tarps, awnings, books, and crossword puzzles. But it oxygenated my campfires something wonderful!

Everybody from 400 campsites wanted the wind to stop. But nobody, not a single person, was able to stop the wind. It just kept on blowing hard!

Yet once Someone did instantly stop a powerful wind! Here is the historical record of that event:
On that day, when evening came, Jesus said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down, and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” (Mark 4:35-41; see also Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25)

At least four of the disciples (Andrew, Peter, James, and John) were former fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. The storm must have been horrendous to generate a fear of perishing in these veteran sailors on their “home sea.” Yet at Jesus’ command, the wind and waves stopped and became perfectly calm.

Can you identify with the disciples’ astonishment, awe, and relief? Is it any wonder that the disciples exclaimed, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

Rembrandt’s 1633 painting, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, depicts the terror of the storm for Jesus’ disciples. (Click title link to see enlarged image.)

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee by Rembrandt

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Jesus stopped the storm (Mark 4:35-41)
Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” asked His disciples.

In Rembrandt’s painting, five of the panic-stricken disciples are frantically wrestling with the rigging and the ripped sail as a massive wave crashes over the bow. Another disciple struggles with the rudder. Two disciples are huddled in fear at the gunwales of the boat. The violent storm causes another disciple to vomit over the side. Two other disciples are desperately imploring Jesus for help.

The disciple in a blue coat holding onto his cap with one hand and grasping a rope with the other while looking directly at the viewer of the painting is Rembrandt. He painted himself into the picture as one of Jesus’ disciples.

This painting was once owned and displayed by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. I visited the museum and admired the large painting (50″ x 63″) multiple times in the 1970s while in grad school. It was my very favorite painting of the entire collection.

But the painting was stolen from the museum more than 30 years ago in March 1990. It has not been recovered.

Stilling the Storm

Why was Jesus able to stop the storm? How did He stop the wind?

The key to these questions is the answer to the disciples’ question, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”.

Who could do such a thing except God? Who but God can control the weather? Ordinary humans cannot do so.

For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind
And declares to man what are His thoughts,
He who makes dawn into darkness
And treads on the high places of the earth,
The Lord God of hosts is His name.
(Amos 4:13)

He who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them (Exodus 20:11) is sovereign over the sea and wind. The One who creates the wind also controls the wind.

The Creator of heaven and earth walked this earth as Jesus of Nazareth two thousand years ago. He exercised power over His creation on the Sea of Galilee to still the storm and thereby testify to His divine identity.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. . . . And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3,14)
He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
(Colossians 1:15-17)

Questions to Ponder

1. How do you answer the disciples’ question: “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?
2. How do you answer Jesus’ question: “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?

Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

For Christ and His Kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria. Alere Flammam Veritatis.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Wednesday June 30, 2021 A.D.

They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?” (Luke 8:24-25)

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  1. Oh for the faith of a grain of mustard seed to believe in miracles.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another excellent article! Bless you for writing it and sharing it with us!

    Liked by 1 person

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