The Lord does permit afflictions and trials in our lives for our spiritual growth and good. Whenever we are in the midst of pain and suffering, it is hard to believe that it will benefit us. The key is whether it draws us closer to God or makes us angry with God.
I want to Share an Article by Stephen Turcotte Physics Faculty, Brigham Young University–Idaho
“Each of us are affected by storms or trials at different stages of our lives. The nature and duration of these storms vary and are unique to our circumstances. Often these challenges take us by surprise. As much as we try to prepare for the storms of life, we often find that we don’t have the power within us to calm them.
The ministry and miracles of Jesus Christ offer us hope that we can have help as we face these storms. The Savior performed two of these miracles on the Sea of Galilee. A careful study of the spiritual and physical aspects can teach us some important lessons about the Savior’s power to help us weather our own storms.
The Miracle (Mark 4: 35-41 in the Bible)
Mark tells us that the first of these two miracles took place after Jesus had spent a good portion of the day teaching the multitude by the Sea of Galilee. The multitude sat on a hill overlooking the sea and the Savior sat in a boat. In the evening, the Savior and His Apostles boarded a boat to cross to the eastern side of the sea.
Soon, however, the boat was engulfed in a severe storm. While the Savior was sleeping peacefully, His disciples worked desperately to preserve their lives. The winds and high waves threatened to sink the ship. Finally, in desperation, the Apostles awoke the Savior with their anguished words, ‘Master, carest thou not that we perish?’ Then the great miracle:
‘And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.’ …’And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?’
The unique geography of the Sea of Galilee makes it susceptible to windstorms. At 13 miles long and 8 miles wide, the sea sits at an elevation of 690 feet below sea level, with hills surrounding it. Some of the hills soar as high as 2,000 feet above the sea. In the evening, the warm, moist air above the water will often rise, while cooler air from the hills rapidly descends, creating high wind speeds at the water’s surface. In addition, the Sea of Galilee is relatively shallow, with a maximum depth of 141 feet (43 m), which tends to produce larger waves when wind speeds are high. Although advances have been made in modeling and predicting storms, humans do not have the capability to control them. Only over the past century have we learned how we can affect both weather and climate. Cloud seeding has been used to initiate precipitation, and there is evidence that urban environments and pollution can alter local and global climate. However, the ability to end a storm, especially in so short a time, is beyond human capabilities. Wind results from spatial variations in temperature and pressure. A windstorm will end only when the temperature and pressure are in equilibrium.
One lesson I have learned from this miracle is that the Savior has power over the elements. It was the Savior who created the land, waters, atmosphere, and everything on the earth (see John 1:3 in the Bible). In the Creation, He had the power to command the elements and they obeyed (see Abraham 4:18 in the Pearl of Great Price) The miracle of calming the storm demonstrated that He had this same power during His mortal ministry.
I believe that the Savior was teaching about the saving and protecting power He has. The winds of evil can cause all sorts of tumultuous waves in our lives (see Helaman 5:12 in the Book of Mormon). As we look to the Savior, we can be protected from evil and its effects. We can be saved from spiritual destruction. (See Matthew 7:24-27 in the Bible).
The Savior truly has the power to calm the storms in our lives. Sometimes the storms are calmed quickly, and other times we have to endure the storms for a season. But remember that similar winds can cause greater waves on shallow water compared with deep water. As we deepen our faith in the Savior, we will find we are less affected by spiritual winds and waves that would have once threatened to overwhelm us.” (Part of the Article by Stephen Turcotte, Peace, Be Still: Calming Our Storms, February, 2023 in the Liahona Magazine was quoted)
Our challenge is to be patient in trials and affliction and trust the Lord and seek His help to overcome trials.