Drowning in the Boat
As I gaze out onto the wind-tossed waves of Lake Michigan in the fading light of the westering sun, I am mesmerized by the moving water, and I recall the story written long ago in the Gospel according to Mark.
This is a story of Jesus, his disciples, and a windstorm. I can relate.
I feel windswept; taking on water.
Do you know the feeling?
I feel displaced and disoriented. I’m like the disciples, asking him, “Lord, do you not care that I am perishing?”
The storm in my life has revolved around financial provision. I struggle with this lurking fear of economic insecurity that drives me to worry and hoard the finances I have.
I find generosity slipping from my heart as my hands clench onto what I possess, fueled by the fear that there is never enough and if I am going to survive, I have to guard what I have.
My reliance on self-salvation reveals a lack of trust and a heart posture that is contrary to the way of Jesus.
The calming of the storm is the first nature miracle in the gospel of Mark and ultimately leads the disciples to the critical question, “Who is this?”
With this question, Mark leads me deeper into the mystery of God incarnate and entices me to listen deeply for truths that are too beautiful for words.
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 ship 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. Jesus 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?”
I find myself asking with the early disciples, “Who is this that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
Who is this one who speaks peace amid uncertainty?
Who is this one who does not fear and invites us to live without fear?
During this time of financial uncertainty, I’ve felt overwhelmed; like God is nowhere to be found.
I’m reminded of the words of George Macdonald: “… because we easily imagine ourselves in want, we imagine God ready to forsake us.”
That’s me. I want to shout the words from Psalm 44:23: Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
I love how this story in Mark’s gospel points me to the Psalms. I hear the echo of the disciple’s uncertainty in Psalm 107:
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He made the storm be still,
and the waves of the sea were hushed.
Then they were glad that the waters were quiet,
and he brought them to their desired haven.
Who is this that even the wind and the sea obey him?
He is the one through whom all things came into being.
He is the one who sustains everything by the word of his power.
And he is the one who cares for me. My salvation.
The one who speaks peace into my storm and brings me home to safe harbor. He is the one whom, when I am windswept, I can trust.