Mankind’s universal problem?
Well, for one (of many I suppose) we all share the same tendency to approach life
with a serious case of “I’ve got this” or “I can handle it myself”.
Even for us religious types, including Christians,
we find ourselves so interconnected with culture, comfort and control
that many might and do astutely observe that we live most of our moments and days
as if we really don’t need God.
Perhaps this is why God permits storms.
Could it be the wisdom of God to allow storms of all types
to get square in the way of our deep-seated independence and pride . .
to jolt us back to a place of trust and dependence on Him?
Know a storm or two (I speak here of the severe weather variety)?
When in one, have you ever been afraid for your very life?
The Disciples certainly were.
A furious storm according to Matthew (who had been a tax collector by trade
vs. a toughened and weathered sailor of the seas) was about to swamp the boat
and drown all the disciples while Jesus was sleeping in the stern.
Up to the moment of near cataclysmic disaster,
the disciples were doing just fine navigating and sailing all on their own . .
just fine that is, until they began to fear for their very lives.
A slumbering Savior would be summoned . .
a panicked plea for any kind of solution would be pleaded for in any number of ways . .
“Don’t you care?’ . . “How can you sleep at a time like this?” . . “Lord save us!”
It is precisely in that moment when the disciples would encounter a new fear –
one that would far surpass the power of the storm,
for in a split second they were introduced to a kind of Divine power
that could transform raging sea and sky into complete calm.
This new and much more powerful cause of fear would drop them to their knees
and quickly blow up the box that had previously held their “Teacher”.
Then would come one and only one question . .
not a long lecture . . not a brow-beating session . . just one question:
“Where is your faith?”
Our Savior Jesus asks each of us this same question today . .
especially to those who would dare follow Him into positions of spiritual leadership over others.
There are things in the Kingdom of God that can only come alive in us
and in our personal ministries via the path of humility, silence, trust, waiting and prayer.
The disciples were not the first to struggle with this matter . .
the very nation of Israel was exhorted by God through the prophet Jeremiah with these pointed words ..
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
The lesson is simple but oh so difficult at times to embrace:
when our life “play book” tells us that we don’t first and foremost need God,
we will necessarily conjure up a cistern which can’t hold a marriage, lead a church,
protect a testimony or win a soul far from God.
In our spiritual powerlessness we will necessarily compensate
by seeking to be powerful, controlling, contriving, manipulating, manhandling, orchestrating . .
oh sure, we will be leading, but with a rod instead of a cross.
The irony of the “3 Hour Tour” by the disciples and one very tired Jesus
across the Sea of Galilee one stormy night some 2,000 years ago is that those closest to the Master
were completely spiritually parched and overcome by thirst for safety and peace . .
while waves were crashing over the boat and soaking them to the very bone.
Jesus hasn’t promised life here on earth
free of monumental mountains, troubled seas and desolate deserts,
but He does offer a love that no desperate night can pierce . .
a safe passage, if you will, through the storm . . that can only be discovered . .
when we lay down the foolish notion of . .
“I’ve got this”.
How is God encouraging you today?