“It is easy to be a man of faith when the waters are still, or the waves mild.” I remember the elderly stranger’s brief but uninvited contribution to the banter that my friends and I – all of us, young fishermen – were having on a cool evening at the waterside food and drinks joint that we frequented. He had probably been listening to our conversation as I told, with perhaps a tint of pride, of how my years on the waters had been marked by my unwavering faith in God, God’s continued faithfulness and the resultant continued good fortune. We all smiled politely, acknowledging the elderly man’s remark, politely waited for him to retreat and then continued our banter. To each his own reality, I thought.
I remembered that old man’s remark as I battled a storm that felt to me to have come out of nowhere. It was late afternoon and I was far from shore. The storm raged and the waves relentlessly thrashed the sides of my fishing boat and repeatedly crashed onto the deck. With all of my will, with all of the knowledge I had gathered from my years on the waters and with all of the faith in God that I could muster, on my fishing boat, I battled the storm.
My boat was filling up fast. And so were my doubt and fear. I began to imagine the possibility that I would not make it to shore that evening, or ever again. That I would be swallowed up by the storm, forever lost to the depths of the waters. That, perhaps, I had come to my good fortune’s end. That, perhaps, God was somehow sleeping and unaware of my plight. But had I not prayed and pleaded as I steered and fought, I wondered. Or were my repeated pleas not enough to wake him up!
I stared at the rosary hanging from a hook I had fixed to the overhead. My mother had gifted it to me when I was a teen saying, “It will remind you when you forget.” I prayed again, pleading, whispering, “Do you not care that I am perishing!”
A voice spoke back softly in my head. “Why are you afraid as if you do not know who is in the boat with you? Peace, be still.”
It is now a week since that storm and I am seated with my friends at the waterside food and drinks joint that we frequent, recounting, with humility and gratitude, God’s faithfulness. Simply God’s faithfulness.
This is a work of fiction.
Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash