Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Peace! Be still!"

I have so many things to do today. I awoke feeling weighed down. As I made my way to the kitchen and made coffee while looking out the window, a part of Mark's Gospel came to mind, perhaps the fact that it is raining contributed. It is the narrative from chapter four, in which Jesus calms the wind and waves with a simple command. I am very grateful for this today.

"On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, 'Let us go across to the other side.' And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, 'Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?' And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Peace! Be still!' And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, 'Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, 'Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him'?” (v. 35-41 ESV)

I am convinced that Jesus' words, "Peace! Be still," are directed at the disciples as much as at the wind and the waves. Since Mark was most likely written in Rome during in the midst of the church being persecuted, a persecution that saw the execution of St. Peter, this account is as much about what they were experiencing at the time as it is about an event that happened during Jesus' life. This is important because it is easy for us, as we live, love, work, and suffer, to see Jesus as asleep, as unconcerned about what is happening to us, to say, "Lord, do you not care that I am perishing?" He cares. Our cry is a prayer that he hears and to which he responds. His question to us is "Why are you so afraid? I am with you. I will never abandon you. In me you are always already victorious over everything you face. Trust me and stop throwing yourself into the storm, against which you alone are powerless and likely to drown." Because Jesus initiates our journey-, "Let us go across to the other side"- he will see it safely through, if we but stay in the boat.

I am put in mind of another, very similar event in Mark, one that also takes place on the water, when the disciples saw someone walking toward them over the choppy waves and were scared. Jesus said to them "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid" (6:50). In the midst of life's storms, Jesus seeks us out. He is at work in all the circumstances of our lives, making all things work together for our good, which is for our sanctification. Christ does not love our destiny, He is our destiny and loves us.

Jesus, I Trust in You.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post and just what I needed. thank you.