The pages are kinda dimply and they do not lay flat—that’s because I am reading from the Bible I had on the Sea of Galilee in February when a squall suddenly arose and water splashed over the sides of our boat, driving rain blew in sideways.
'Reminiscent of storms I have weathered in life, I would have to say… times I have thought, ‘this is not what I was expecting, not how things are meant to be.’
It is good and right to look back and see the goodness of God, good to remember that God did indeed bring me through each storm.
Several years ago now, my 15-year-old son was living large, playing in a holiday soccer tournament, as a sophomore on his Division One varsity high school team. The guys seemed to come alive in this tournament, and advanced to the championship game against a local powerhouse. One of two goalkeepers, Dylan had a right to think he would play at least half the game, perhaps more, as his play thus far in the tourney had been exemplary. But then … on the day in between, a nagging sinus infection got worse, and warranted a visit to the local ‘urgent care’ facility. The doc put him on a powerful antibiotic, and we went home hopeful.
As the evening wore on, however, Dylan had a lot of pain and discomfort in his sinuses, especially in one eye. By morning, the eye had begun to swell considerably; clearly, he would not be able to take the field in the big game. Instead, we went to an eye doctor, who recommended we take him straight to the hospital. Within hours, he was admitted, a CT scan revealing that the sinus infection had ran amuck and spread into the ocular region, wreaking havoc with the vision, causing his eye to swell shut, and a great deal of pain, with the possibility of losing his eyesight in that eye. ‘But Mom,’ Dylan objected—‘this was my chance to compete at this level. Why is this happening?!’ It’s not supposed to go like this.1
Maybe your storm is much bigger – like, maybe you are dealing with life and death. Maybe your heart has been broken by lies, your dreams lying broken at your feet ... maybe you dread waking up tomorrow for fear it will be worse than today. What then?
Our gospel writer, Mark, gives us the Answer, describing what took place just after Jesus had fed the crowds of thousands of people: “Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him.
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!”Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore.” Mark 6.45-53. [Interesting note - the storm that nailed us in February, was after we took off from Gennesaret, normally a very calm area, called the Paradise of the Galilee]
Let's talk about this. So even though the disciples had just seen Jesus feed some 5000+ folks from a boy's small lunch, even though they remembered when Jesus had calmed a storm once before, even though they had seen him raise the dead and so many other things, the disciples were 'amazed' (one Bible translation uses the word 'astonished') that Jesus walked to them on the water and that he calmed the storm again when he climbed in their boat. I can't help but wonder why they didn't 'get' Jesus more than that.
Why, of course, Jesus was with them in this storm and as a matter of fact, by a dint of his will, he quieted it! As Mark detailed, while Jesus was on the mountain, the disciples were well out into the lake ... and yet somewhere between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., Jesus saw they were in trouble. They were his men, and he somehow had laser vision to see their distress, and went to rescue them.
This is no different than you and me. He loves us and is ever so close when storms crash into our lives. Notice--->Jesus went to them in the storm.
Are you in a storm? Cry out to him; God will hear you. He always hears his children when they pray. The psalmist says 'The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.'2 And this is expansive: If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.3
And in the storm, he is closer than we think. We've just gotta look for him.
Close your eyes, please listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsIpGiz3SfQ
Peace be still,
The Footsteps of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, 22
1 - Thank the Lord, after five days in the hospital, three of which were in intensive care, Dylan eventually fully recovered, with no damage to his vision--but it was so severe that the ct scan looking down showed his eyeball pushed out til it was level with the tip of his nose. okay, that's crazy.
2 - Psalm 34.18 NLT
3 - Psalm 34.18 The Message