Monday, July 29, 2013

And there was calm...

"He awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?”  Luke 8: 24-25.

Jesus sent the boys out onto the lake for a sail, I wonder if he knew the storm was coming.  Scripture says he laid aside his divinity and became a man, so he only knew if the father let him in on the plan.  In his humanity and tiredness from pouring out the kingdom that had been poured into him, he was exhausted.  Anyone who's done that knows the feeling, being filled with some energy, some power, some love that's not your own, reminds you that it's God, not you, doing the real work.  It's a humbling reminder when you get to the end of preaching a word you know is not your own, or caring for orphans you know you couldn't possibly help without Jesus that you're sometimes so exhausted, so empty when you realize it's only you left and you need rest and another filling of his Spirit just to get through the day.  No wonder Jesus was sleeping in the boat.  Maybe he knew the storm was coming, maybe not, but I'm sure he knew some storm was coming, everywhere he went things turned to chaos; storms came, evil spirits popped there ugly heads up, religious people got their nose out of joint and wanted to kill him.  So Jesus is getting rested when the wind and waves hit.  The boys on the other hand are trying to keep the boat from going down.  I'm sure they were bailing water like nobodies business.  They were probably pulling those sails with every ounce of manly strength within them.  In a moment, which may have been panic or it may have been sanity, they wake Jesus.  I wonder if they had the feelings of inadequacy that I often have before I turn to Jesus, like 'oh I really should be able to handle this one, I've been fishing and sailing a boat my whole life, I grew up on the water, Jesus is going to think i'm an idiot.'  Maybe they had been arguing about wake Jesus up, like 'oh man, he gave a simple instruction, sail across the lake, he's going to be seriously upset if we wake him up'.  Maybe they were more like, 'how the heck can anyone sleep through this... what is wrong with that guy.'  Whatever the case someone finally decides to wake Jesus up.  Instantly when he speaks, the storm stops and it's calm.  Just like when he spoke the first time and instantly there was light.  Or later when he spoke and the stars filled the sky.  Or instantly when he spoke and whatever he wanted to happen, happened.  And it was calm.  And he says, "where is your faith?"  Jesus rebuked the storm, but I don't think he was rebuking the disciples.  I think maybe he was just showing them a little shock and awe, and saying 'how do ya like me now.'  The disciple at this point aren't really sure who or what Jesus is?  They're not entirely convinced he's God, they're not entirely convinced he's the messiah.  And they had no idea what he was going to do on the cross.  
We often feel like Jesus is going to upset with us if we ask for help, or that he'll be disappointed if we can't handle it on our own.  We feel like we should be able to manage or hold it together or push our way through the hard things.  Jesus wasn't ridiculing them, or condemning them for not having enough faith.  He wasn't belittling them or angry with them.  He was teaching them who he was.  It says they were afraid and marveled.  Of course they were afraid and marveled, have any of you ever seen anything as crazy as someone saying, "wind and waves, shut-up" and it happened right before your eyes?  They weren't afraid of Jesus because he was upset at them, they were amazed that he had rescued them in the midst of something that looked like it was likely going to end in their ending.  Jesus wasn't rebuking the disciples, he was opening the door to them.  "Where is your faith?" it's the same question he asks each of us.  Now maybe you're like the disciples and he has to take you into some extreme situation in order to show you who he really is. I hope not, I've been on a boat in storms, it's scary.  I've been through tragedies with friends and family, it's painful.  I've made drastically bad choices and tried to solve my issues on my own, it was stupid - but Jesus didn't ridicule me for being scared and asking for help.  Jesus didn't tell me "cheer up" or "stay strong" when I was in pain and broken in the midst of great loss - he was my joy, he was my strength.  He didn't punish me or condemn me when I made stupid choices or try to get through like on my own because I'm stubborn and prideful - he just teaches me that I'm forgiven and teaches me how to depend on him.
So, his question is the same to all of us, "where is your faith?".  Your answer to the question is of greatest importance, in this life and the next.  I hope he doesn't have to take you into a great storm just to show you that he loves you and wants to rescue you, not just from trouble and circumstances in your life, but that he has already done what's necessary for the greater rescue.  The wind and waves of sin that will ultimately sink you have already been calmed by his death on the cross and Resurrection from the grave.  When he got up, the power of the storm ceased, now all you have to do is ask him to forgive what you can't overcome, like the disciples realizing they'd never be able to bail fast enough or sail hard enough to make it through the storm.  Instantly, he'll bring a calm into you're heart and you'll know you're safe.  And you'll be in awe of what one word from His mouth has done.  You're safe. 

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