Sunday’s Gospel lesson of Jesus calming the storm (Mk 4:35-41), reminds me of an entry in John Wesley’s journal about his voyage to America:
1736 January, Sunday, 25.—At noon our third storm began. At four it was more violent than before. At seven I went to the [German Moravians]. ..In the midst of the psalm wherewith their service began, the sea broke over, split the mainsail in pieces, covered the ship, and poured in between the decks, as if the great deep had already swallowed us up. A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterward, “Were you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.”
This had a profound affect on Wesley. On his way back from America, after surviving another horrific storm, he wrote “I have a fair summer religion ..while no danger is near; but let death look me in the face, and my spirit is troubled“.
Four months later, on the 24 May 1738, Wesley described how his heart was “strangely warmed” by the Holy Spirit. Perfect love dispelled fear forever (c.f. 1 John 4:18).