Finally, they were all asleep. Up on the roof, the children had one by one succumbed to the darkness and the rhythm of Rachel’s quiet singing. But Rachel was not sleepy. How could one day change a life so dramatically? A flash of lightning lit up the sky to the west, and she wondered if she should take everyone inside. Most likely the storm would stay over the Sea, where fierce tempests often created wild waters just a mile or two distant from where peace reigned on the shore. She decided to let everyone stay where they were. If a storm came, they would all get up and go down into the house.
Finally Rachel could stand the silent sleeplessness no longer. Even after her long walks up and down the mountain, she was restless. Like a shadow she rose from her bed and glided downstairs. Her father was sound asleep, his even breathing punctuated by occasional snores. Taking her shawl from its place by the door, she drew it over her head, opened the door, and slipped out into the night.
The wind was picking up and Rachel could see more lightning over the Sea, yet she walked that way through the dark silent village, allowing the shifting light of the moon to guide her. Something about the shore of Galilee was calling her tonight.
Suddenly she saw the storm break over the water in the distance. A low rumble of thunder gained momentum and became a crash. The wind blew the head covering back from Rachel’s face, and a curtain of rain was visible over the Sea. A flash of lightning ripped through the sky, and Rachel felt a stab of guilt for not bringing the children inside before she left. They would all be crowding down the stairs now, she knew, after that loud roar of thunder. She would have to be careful when she got home, not to step on a child sprawled on the floor. Nevertheless she kept walking.
She could hear the waves breaking crazily on the shore, and the wind rushed past her, whipping her still-uncovered hair back from her face. The wildness of it all thrilled her, and she felt no fear. In the darkness and the blazes of lightning she felt a reflection of her day, her heart– darkness and dull routine across which the Teacher had broken with a brilliance she had never imagined. And still the echoes of her encounter with His work rumbled through her.
As Rachel neared the shore, the wind grew yet more riotous, the thunder louder. She could see the curtain of rain, still a ways off over the water, but large drops were beginning to fall around her. Lifting her shawl back over her head, Rachel stopped by the edge of the water, so that its waves sprayed her feet but did not cover them. She knew that often fishermen would go out on Galilee at night and hoped none were out in this storm. The waves were higher than she could ever remember seeing them, and the sound of the tumult filled her ears.
Afterward, Rachel always wondered how she had heard the quiet voice through all the noise of the storm, but she did hear it. One word, spoken softly– Rachel. Spinning around, heart pounding, she saw Him standing there on the edge of the Sea, just an arm’s length away.
It was as if the world went silent, as if all there was in all the universe was this moment– these two people. Rachel looked at the Teacher’s face, His serious eyes, His compassionate smile. Jesus. The word slipped from her mouth in a whisper, and she fell to her knees, head bowed before Him. She knew who He was. She knew He was God’s Son, the promised Messiah, the Almighty. There was nothing for her to do but to worship Him.
“My Lord,” she spoke, finally, daring to raise her eyes to His face. “Please call me to follow You. I will go anywhere.”
He smiled, reached out a rough hand to help her stand. “Rachel, you think that you must walk around the countryside to follow me, leave your home and your family. And indeed, someday you may be called upon to do just that. But now– now I have need for you here. Can you be content to wait? To serve where you are? To give up your plans in favor of mine? This is the cross I have for you right now. Will you carry it?”
Rachel lowered her eyes, disappointment washing over her. He didn’t want her to follow Him. He wanted her to stay here, to bake bread and keep house and serve others.
“Rachel, if you had not been here, baking bread and keeping house and serving your family, thousands of people would have been hungry this night. You gave what you had, and it has blessed your whole village. I am asking you to continue doing that. Will you follow me in this way?”
Rachel considered. It seemed as if a desperate battle raged in her heart, but she looked up at Jesus again and she knew. She could do anything He gave her to do, all for love of Him.
“Yes, my Lord. I will be Your servant here.”
His hand reached out, touched her head; and He blessed her.
“I must go. My disciples are out there on the Sea, and they are tired almost to the point of death. I need to go to them.”
“My Lord, use my father’s boat! It is just there, down the shoreline–”
But Jesus the Teacher smiled and turned from her, and stepped out toward the waves, onto the surface of the wild sea.
My Almighty God.
Rachel had just reached home when the storm suddenly ceased.