You’re Not Going to Drown

ACFWAuthors and writing, Encouragement, Faith, Fear/Doubt, writing 5 Comments

by John Matthew Walker @jdubmd

Familiar with the huge numbers that swarmed him daily, Jesus and his disciples went to the lakeshore early in the morning. When the crowds gathered and pressed around him, Jesus and his disciples climbed into a boat a pushed off the shore. He stood at taught them from the boat. The day stretched on and as evening approached, Jesus said, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”

Finding ideas, building worlds, developing characters, and actually doing the work can crowd and exhaust your thoughts. Writing and all that goes with it isn’t always easy.

Is it ever easy?

Maybe for some, but for me there are times when I want to climb into a boat and get away from it all.

After that long day, the disciples were tired, and it was the master’s idea to cross the lake. Imagine yourself on that boat. Peter looks at Jesus with tired eyes. “You take the stern.”

We don’t read those words in the scripture, but we know that when the storm rose and the wind and waves assailed the boat, Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat. In other words, he was in charge of the rudder. It was his job to control the boat.

You’re jolted from sleep by a cold spray blasting across your face like fine needles of mist. A wave hurtles over the side of the boat, soaking you to the skin. With one hand, you clutch the side of the boat. The other tries to brace you but finds the soaked cloak of another disciple.

You squint against the torrent and look toward the stern. No one is controlling the boat. Jesus is asleep. Sound asleep. Why isn’t he manning the rudder or at least getting out of the way?

Thick clouds blot out all that was left of dusk, and you can barely see, but it’s unmistakable that you’re going to drown. All twelve of you who are awake, shout at the one who’s sleeping. “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

Sometimes the storms of life rage, and it feels like God is asleep in our boat, but John Matthew Walker @jdubmd reminds us that we won’t drown. #writing #writingcommunity #ACFW Click To Tweet

“How can you sleep at a time like this?”

“Do your job and control the boat.”

Sometimes the storms of life rage, and it feels like God is asleep in our boat, the boat we worked for, the boat we built, that we have used to make our living. And we’re asking, “Don’t you care that we’re drowning?”

You worked hard on your idea, your characters, your plot, setting, rewrites, but the storm is raging. You’re stuck. Something’s not working. You met with that agent or publisher that you thought best fit with you and your work, but the cold spray of rejection stung your face, tossed your boat, and you’re drowning.

Jesus doesn’t jolt from his sleep in alarm. He doesn’t grab the rudder and command the boat.

He rubs his eyes, lifts his head and looks about. “Why are you afraid?”

Why isn’t Jesus afraid? He’s in this in this boat with us? We’re all going to drown.

He knows what we don’t.

The storm doesn’t matter.

Psalm 107:29: “He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves.”

He stands up in the middle of the raging storm. No one stands up in a boat in the middle of a storm. Any reasonable soul would grab the rudder and turn the boat to avoid getting tossed overboard. No! Jesus stands and rebukes the wind and the waves, and the storm and the sea become calm and still.

In the original Greek text, Jesus literally calls his disciples “cowards of tiny faith.”

Jesus is so much bigger than our boat. He’s bigger than the storm. It may seem like he’s asleep in the midst of all that rages, and maybe he is. Rest was his plan on that boat. The gospel of Mark tells us he laid his head on a cushion, so even the disciples must’ve known he was going to rest.

Sometimes we assume it’s going to be smooth sailing because Jesus is in our boat, but the storms rage and test our faith.

The reality is that, even if you feel like God is asleep in your boat and doesn’t care, he is still in control, and he’s bigger than the storm.

When your writing stalls or your efforts aren’t good enough for that agent or publisher. When you’ve put your work out there, but no one’s buying it. When you’re not sure whether this writing thing is for you. Stop fretting. Pause. Breathe. You’re not going to drown. You may feel like Jesus is asleep in your storm. That’s when it’s time to realize that he isn’t afraid and shouldn’t be either.

When you’re feeling anxious and you need to find peace amid the storm, don’t imagine Jesus calming the sea. Picture him asleep in the stern. The storm rages, and you go to him. Lie down beside him and rest, knowing he is the calm and the storm doesn’t matter.


In my medical practice, the patients are the heroes—each with their own unique story. Often their stories delve into harsh realities. I’m there to provide hope and guidance to bring them through those trials. I do the same with my characters. They journey deep into darkness and discover that the light is still there—even if it’s only a wavering flicker of hope. My stories holds true to the tagline: Suspense That Awakens Hope. For more, go to

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