Wednesday, February 27, 2013
I am not a preacher. I do speak in public frequently and I have been on my feet for eight hours doing training and development work for days at a time. I do have some empathy with what Jesus felt after a long, hard day of preaching and teaching. It’s not so much a physical fatigue as it is mental and emotional. You feel drained. You want to curl up in a corner, rest your head, close your eyes and for a brief period of time leave the world and everyone in it to their own devices. In layman’s terms you are “plumb wore out.”
Mark tells us in Chapter 4:35 Jesus suggested to his disciples that they get in a boat and head to the other side. He wanted to put some space between himself and the crowd and it appeared he wasn’t even going to get to do that. Mark goes on to tell us a number of boats followed his. Jesus curled up on a cushion in the stern of the boat and promptly fell asleep. Half way through the journey a squall arises. Strong winds, torrential rains and most likely a load of thunder and lightning. Water comes crashing into the boat and its filling up faster than the disciples could bail. In the stern of the boat Jesus sleeps on. Have you ever been on a lake or river when a sudden storm hits? It can scare the life half out of you. You can’t see three feet in front of you, the boat is rocking this way and that, and the wind blows so hard that you have a hard time keeping your seat or your balance. Yet through this tempest Jesus sleeps on. The Scripture goes on to tell us that the apostles started shaking Jesus, woke him up and asked him if he’d planned on letting them all drowned.
Ever been woken from a really deep sleep by a group of people yelling and carrying on? You are a bit disoriented and sometimes you’re not sure where you are. All you know someone is shaking you and yelling “Save us, save us.” The Scripture doesn’t say so but I imagine Jesus sighed a bit. He’d had a long, hard day, he just wanted a few moments of peace and rest and now he had twelve maniacs running around a boat yelling something akin to “The sky is falling, the sky is falling. “Jesus got up and rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Be quiet, be still.” Everything got really calm in a great hurry and as he went to curl back up he looked at the disciples and said “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” He lies down, closed his eyes and was most likely snoring in a few minutes.
Traditionally, we tell this story to exploit our lack of faith. God will provide, Jesus takes care of us and the like. Yet this morning when I read this passage I was attracted to Jesus behavior. Getting caught in a storm can cause you to be in therapy for ages and its nothing to be treated lightly; yet the moment Jesus set foot in the boat, long before any squall came skirting across the water he had enough faith to know everything was going to work out ok and he could catch forty winks.
There are storms in my life. Some days they are cloud bursts and other days they are major squalls. I could see myself in the boat there with Peter and the gang running around looking terrified and yelling for Jesus to do something. Buy you know, in a way, his example of faith, his taking a nap, was his answer his “doing something.” He asks me to trust him and that means trust him with everything, even my life.
Scary proposition, hey?