My Grace is Sufficient for you......God

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Perspective Changes Everything

There's a story in the Bible about how Jesus and his followers were going across a lake in the middle of the night after a long day of Jesus teaching the crowds. They were tired and Jesus was sleeping up near the front of the boat.

Sometime in the middle of the night, I suspect it was around 1 or 2 AM because this is the time of night when all the bad crap happens, a storm came up. At least a few of Jesus' followers were fishermen and understood the way of the lake and I'm sure had experienced a storm or two in their careers.

This storm that arose was apparently bad enough that even the experienced sailors were terrified they were all going to die in the storm.

Then someone noticed Jesus sleeping soundly up near the front of the boat. If you  have ever been in a boat when there's a storm on, you know that's the worst place to be. It pitches up and down the most. If you're gonna get sick, its in the front of the boat!

These big strapping fishermen are scared stiff and I'm sure the non fishermen of their little group were more than terrified. I suspect they were just waiting to die.

Soon though, one of these terrified men decided to wake Jesus and complain. In fact, they were pissed he wasn't helping them bail the water out of the boat. So they woke him up and demanded to know whether or not he even cared if they were all gonna die or not.

Of interest here is a few things that are missing from the dialogue. There was no mention of waking him to see if he could do something about the storm, there was no mention of Jesus being capable of doing more than simply bailing water along with the rest of them. No mention at all about how He was able to sleep during such a severe storm. It seems reasonable to think these men who had seen Him do miracles might possibly have a clue He could do more than bail but they didn't. They were still clueless as to who was laying there without a care in the world.

So finally waking Jesus up and asking Him why he didn't care about them they received quite a shock when instead of taking up a position near the side of the boat and bailing along with the rest of them, he instead stood up and spoke to the winds and waves and commanded them to be still. Immediately there was calm and peace on the lake. Then he said to them, "why do you have so little faith?" I think what He actually may have said there was "If I'm not worried, why are you?"

If we take this story as a literal story and the group actually experienced a storm and Jesus actually spoke to the wind and waves and there was instant peace, then we need to figure out how to apply this nice story to our lives. After all its in the Bible for a reason.

In relation to this story, I've always heard that we can speak to the winds and waves in our own lives and there will be instant peace.

Can I say something now that might possibly be construed as blasphemy? Today I sit here and I call BS on that statement. Why? Because I have spoken to the winds and waves in my life plenty of times and not ONCE have they gone away.  Instead, I've hunkered down and just endured the storm. And am still enduring.....

My personal experience leads me to believe Jesus didn't calm the storm at all. That the winds and waves may have even gotten larger. That the circumstances never changed.

What I am coming to believe is the perspective of the followers of Jesus changed. That instead of being terrified of the storm, Jesus removed the fear of the storm and because the fear was gone, it was as if the storm was suddenly over.

What I am suggesting is that because the fear was removed, the followers of Jesus had such a profound experience of internal peace that they actually believed the storm was over. That Jesus had literally spoken to the winds and waves and calmed them. So much so that years later when they were writing down all they had seen and heard Him do, they wrote what they believed had happened.  Like they couldn't really remember the storm after Jesus spoke.

And this I can say makes far more sense as it aligns with my personal experience. Instead of the winds and waves (trials, sickness, financial issues) going away, my fear of the outcome of these things has gone away. In the place of fear has come peace. Not to the degree where I no longer believe the storm has gone but still to the point where I no longer fear the storm. Because Jesus is my place of safety, strength and provision. And I trust Him.

My reading of Jesus's sayings is beginning to show that He never promised ease and comfort 100% of the time. Instead He promised peace in the storm. This is something I've heard over the years but never really understood. This promise of peace speaks to the idea of an abundant life. One that's not contingent upon the physical surroundings but on the person of Jesus. One that depends on Him for all aspects of existence. One that is surrendered to the idea that from Him flows all life and all things necessary to sustain life both in the afterlife and also in the right here and right now.

It seems the circumstances (wind and waves) will change over time. From peace to storm and back again, but what's important is that Jesus is sleeping in the boat. If He's not worried then neither am I.

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