Monday, January 31
Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side… And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?” (Matthew 8:18, 23-27 NRSV)
When I revisited this Bible passage earlier this week, I found that I had lots of questions for the disciples.
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.
Did the disciples immediately follow Jesus, as this passage seems to convey? Did they not question why they were abandoning the crowds that had gathered? Did they not consider packing lunches or grabbing extra supplies for the journey? Did they really just follow him into the boat, no questions asked?
A windstorm arose on the sea…
Could the disciples have checked the sky and weather conditions for signs of an impending storm before leaving the shore?
And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!
Why did the disciples look to Jesus for help when they were the fishermen? Wouldn’t they be more capable of handling storms than their carpenter teacher?
Through Bible stories like these, we realize that the disciples recognized something more in Jesus, even before they knew he was sent from God. This is the same “something more” that inspired them to drop their nets and leave their homes to follow him in the first place. In their time with Jesus, they saw him heal, they heard him teach, and (as in this story) they sensed his peaceful and trusting confidence. They soon understood that Jesus was the one to trust, the one to go to in trials, the one who would find a way to help.
They looked to Jesus because he had something more… Jesus had the serenity found in completely trusting the goodness of God. So, they learned to follow him even when the circumstances didn’t make sense.
Have you ever had a strong feeling to do something even when it didn’t make sense? The circumstances may not be perfect, the timing may not seem right, the changes needed could be difficult, the potential for loss may be intimidating. And yet, this feeling remains.
What if this is Jesus telling us to follow him into the boat? What if this is Jesus telling us to trust in the goodness of God?
Following our deepest longings or our persistent callings does not guarantee smooth travels. Our joys and triumphs in life will always be intermingled with surprises, uncertainties, troubles, and sorrows. Yet, our serenity comes when we learn to trust that there is a greater love and deeper mystery that will one day outshine every hardship and grief. We find this serenity in knowing that we are never journeying alone; we have a healer, teacher, and guide who is the goodness of God with us, every step of the way. If we pay attention, we will sense that we are always being surrounded and embraced by something more.
And we can carry that abiding trust of serenity with us, onto the boat and even into the storm.
Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm.
Photo by Karen, Outer Banks, NC (sun hidden behind cloud, yet light appears on the water)
Bible verses found at https://www.biblegateway.com/
They got right quick into the boat,
common sense to flout,
no Weather Channel, lunch, or coat,
and not a shred of doubt
’till wind and wave did threaten
on that vasty deep
to give ’em all a wettin’,
but Jesus was asleep!
They cried to Him in terror;
“We’re perishing!”, they wailed,
not guessing of their error
for it was they who sailed,
and should have read the winds and skies,
and that’s why Jesus rolled His eyes.
Oh my gosh, this one is awesome, Andrew! You write so creatively, so quickly, and with such humor – thank you. Sending love!
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