The gospel passage that I am reflecting on this week is Mark Ch 4 vs 35 -41. I am sure that it is a passage that is familiar to you.
In many ways, it seems to me that this passage is very apt for our times. We are in the middle of a stormy passage of life. Storms tend to come upon you out of nowhere; they come whether you like it not. This Covid 19 pandemic certainly falls into that category!
Storms can terrify us, they leave us very uncertain – how long will it last, will we survive intact? I think that is probably how the disciples felt in that boat. Even though some were fishermen and accustomed to the unpredictable ways of the Sea of Galilee, there was panic in the boat. And Jesus? He was taking the opportunity to catch up on his sleep!
The disciples were probably very confused. Why wasn’t he awake? Did he not care what happened to them? I wonder if the words of Psalm 44 vs 23, 24 came to their minds “Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever. Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression?”
Perhaps that is how many people have felt, or are feeling, through this time. In their fear, are they begging God to sort it all out? Are they worried that he has indeed forgotten his people? I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case and, in some ways, I would be pleased about that because it, at least, shows a belief in the existence of God!
In the Gospel story we read that Jesus did wake up and he took control of the situation. He commanded the wind and waves to be still. He doesn’t just leave it there however. He has a question for his disciples; “why are you so afraid. Do you still have no faith?”
Perhaps he wants to ask that question of us too. Do we not trust that he has power over the storms of life, that he experiences them alongside us, that he loves us and that, crucially, he wants us to trust him more?
Look at the lesson from the boat. Storms (of any kind) don’t worry Jesus. He is perfectly calm about them. We need to learn to trust. He is in the middle of the storm beside us. There was never a promise that storms wouldn’t come into our lives. I suspect that you, like me, often feel like we go from one kind of storm to another. Also, we do tend to go through times of fear and panic when we are being storm-tossed! All of that is quite natural and part of being human.
What we have to learn is that Jesus is there with us in the storm. It may not be immediately evident but he is. He is not afraid, he is ultimately in control and we are safe with him. He just asks us to have more faith in him!
“Oh where’s your faith?
Even your little faith?
In the storm, in the darkness,
I am with you.
Let the waves roar
But don’t be distressed.
Otherwise, you might never hear me saying
‘Peace! Be Still’
Our confidence is in you, loving God
You are the foundation of the universe,
Mother-like you brought us to birth
Father-like you watch over us, protecting.
You are the source of life and faith alike.
If you were not, we would cease to be.
We, your children, have rested our hope on you
And sought to follow Jesus
Yet, even with such confidence, there are times
When faith bends under pressure,
bends, and almost breaks:
times when it seems that the family door has closed on us,
closed and we are orphaned;
times when our peace is disturbed,
disturbed, and we are tiny craft on a stormy ocean.
For we know pain and sadness, frustration, fear and loss,
Even when we have sought to follow Jesus.
Our pain, and the pain we feel for others, is like a heavy burden to us:
Cruelty and anger, war and attack by virus,
Bereavement and the loss of a loved one,
Can bring such moments,
Even when we are followers of Jesus.
But then we pause before the sight of a cross,
And stay our eyes on a young man’s agony in death;
Your own purpose in him seemingly thwarted.
And learn afresh that you are in our sadness as in our happiness;
In the dark shadows of life as well as the bright joy.
In our uncertainty as well as our confidence,
For you are walking with us throughout our days.
Thus, we accept afresh the risk and joy of trusting you,
Offering all that we are;
And with renewed delight
Rejoice to follow Jesus