Monday, June 3, 2013
“On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’ And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’”
To provide some context, earlier that day Jesus started to teach on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus spent a ton of time doing his ministry. The crowd of people grew so large that he moved to a boat and taught from there (Mark 4:1). He spat out parables all day (Mark 4:1-32) and then when it was evening time, Jesus suggested to his disciples that they cross the sea to the other side. (We aren’t completely sure who all went with Jesus.) Then we read what happens in Mark 4:35-41.
What strikes me as interesting is not that Jesus was chill-mode during the storm or “asleep” which could also imply a posture of trust in God. That seems pretty Jesus-like. What sticks out to me is what the disciplines say to Jesus in verse 38, “Jesus, do you not care that we are perishing?” The disciples were clearly freaked out by the raging waters swamping the boat and the sheets of rain falling from the sky. If I were in that situation, I would also freaking out! But, they let their fear get the best of them. See, fear completely took over and instead of saying to Jesus, “Hey Jesus, I think we need your help” they said, “Jesus, why don’t you care that we’re dying?” Their fear disabled them from requesting help. Instead, they made a fear-provoked claim in question form.
Then Jesus does what Jesus does and calms the raging waters and the pelting rain. Then he says, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
I’m not suggesting that we be fearless in times of trial and put on this magical cape of honor and pride that actually masks our true selves. And I don’t think that Jesus was directly implying that being afraid means we have no faith. In fact, you don’t have to have perfect faith for God to respond. Instead, in the midst of being almost paralyzed by fear and maybe even assuming the worst about God, we still receive God’s mercy and grace. Jesus does care for them. He does look out for them (Mark 4:39). This is representative of God’s mercy and grace that we always receive. And maybe in those moments of fear, we might see or feel or hear an invitation to greater faith.
So, think about the fears that are circling around in your head or are present in front of your face. Bring those fears and anxieties to God and begin to see how God transforms them.
Prayer: Lord God, help us to come to grips with our fears and give us the courage and strength to give them up to you. We hope to hear you say, “Peace! Be still” in the moments that make us most afraid. And we ask that you do these things so that we may grow in a stronger faith in you. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, who teaches even without speaking, Amen.