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Faith in the Storm

September 29, 2020

37A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38But 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?” 39He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. -Mark 4:37-39 (NRSV) This passage is from one of my favorite stories about Jesus and his disciples. They are away at sea, between “preaching gigs” if you will, and Jesus is taking a well-deserved nap. The trouble is, the wind and the sea are anything but “at rest.” So the storms kick up and Jesus is sawing logs in the stern of the boat. Naturally, the disciples forget about their faith (or so we think) and began to panic. They wake up their rabbi and ask him if he cares whether they live or die. Then Jesus tells the wind and sea to calm down. “They” do…and the disciples are awestruck. But let’s just suppose we were to take Jesus’ words at face value, and suppose we hear him saying not “You have little faith” (which he did not say) and instead what he did: “Have you still no faith?” Maybe, just maybe, his students absolutely DID have faith and their faith told them to consult their savior – the one in whom they somehow knew could calm the storm, even if they acted surprised when he actually did it. What I mean is that perhaps faith can be the very act of calling out for God in the back of the boat – knowing that by awaking the desire for God in ourselves that God will awaken our faith and bring calm to the raging winds and waves. It’s not really that far-fetched to believe that Jesus wanted his disciples to learn this lesson, and it’s not crazy to think they would want to learn it too. When Parker and I drive by certain boats, or look at ship videos on my smartphone together, I find myself wondering: is it the power and presence of the ship itself that brings Parker such joy, or is it the familiar image of a vessel that sails on something as mysterious and vast as a Great Lake or the Ocean blue? My son is too young to understand this bible story from Mark’s gospel, or the metaphor we have discussed. But he is not too small to understand that he is tiny in the vastness of the sea, and that he can take comfort in the great love of his family.

Posted by Paul Busekist at 12:00 am
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