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Scripture for this week: Luke 8:22-25
Additional Scripture: Matthew 28:18-20
|Illustration by Jago, from The
Jesus Storybook Bible. Original appears here. |
Several years ago, I flew from Michigan to a friend's wedding in California by way of Texas. The Houston airport was under a tornado warning, and our plane was routed to Corpus Christi to wait out the storm.
The plane creaked and pitched through a black sky. Lightning electrified the clouds; thunder drummed the top of the plane. I tightened my seatbelt, gripped the armrests, and shut my eyes.
At one point, the rollicking became so pronounced that people on the plane were screaming. We were terrified.
How I wished the captain of the plane would have told us something reassuring. He didn't. But he did something better: He got us down safely.
I have never been at sea in a storm. But when I read this passage about Jesus sleeping during a violent storm at sea, I remember that plane ride.
How could anyone sleep through that?
Luke tells us that it's Jesus' idea to go out in the boat.
"Let's cross to the other side of the lake," he says. So the disciples, experienced fishermen among them, set sail. It doesn't take long before Jesus is asleep.
A breeze kicks up into a soaking wind. Waves crest over the stern faster than the disciples can bail. Fishing nets go floating overboard. The disciples are terrified on two different levels.
They are terrified that their lives will be lost at sea; and they are terrified because Jesus doesn't seem to be watching out for them. Their leader snores on.
"Master, Master!" The disciples cry. "We are about to die!"
Subtext: DO something!
So Jesus does. Like a bleary-eyed parent whose squirrelly children are disrupting the peace, he rebukes the wind and the waves.
Be still, Jesus commands the forces of nature. Go back to bed.
And much to the fearful amazement of the disciples, the wind and the waves obey!
When all is calm, Jesus asks the disciples, "Where is your faith?"
The disciples don't answer Jesus' question. I wonder how they felt. Relieved? Ashamed? Drawn into greater faith, the kind Jesus wants them to exhibit?
Luke tells us a different kind of fear comes over the disciples as they marvel at the kind of Master they are following.
"Who is this--that water and wind obey him?" they wonder.
This Jesus--who commands water and wind--is also with us.
Lord, increase our faith.
1. What "storm" are you facing? In what ways has the promise of Jesus' presence with you brought peace in the storm?
2. If Jesus has given you a particular awareness of his presence with you in the storm, thank him. If the storm is still raging and it feels as if Jesus is sleeping, let his promise never to leave you echo through your mind and heart.
3. Listen to the song "Don't Be Afraid" by John Bell. Meditate on the truth that Jesus never leaves you, no matter what.