Friday, March 10, 2017

Lenten Devotionals - Mark 4:35-41

Hmm. This story is straightforward: Jesus goes into a boat with disciples. It gets stormy. Disciples freak out and wake up Jesus. Jesus calms storm. Jesus berates them for being afraid.

It has a kind of simple moral, I guess. God takes care of you. He can calm the storm, so little things are of no obstacle. For example, right now I’m stressing out about tomorrow because someone isn’t texting me back. God, being all godly, can fix this easily. Therefore, I shouldn’t be stressing.

But the issue (for me, at least) isn’t whether God can calm the storm. I’ve seen answers to text messages before; I’m asking for something (relatively) small when I ask for Him to intercede. But will He intercede? Will He calm the storm? Jesus, here, had to be provoked into action, which might be another moral—ask and you may receive. But what happens when you do ask, and the answer is no? What happens if Jesus remains asleep? What happens if He doesn’t calm the storm, and you capsize?

People can drown. The fear the disciples had was completely realistic. God doesn’t promise a fluffy bunny existence free from pain, and He doesn’t say we can’t drown. I trust that God exists. I can trust that with my life. But why would God intervene? Even here, He seems to be grumpy about it. Do you have no faith…

I guess true faith would be a person who isn’t stressing about the storm, isn’t stressing about death. True faith, to me right now, would not be stressing about a text message. But there’s still consequences! I’m going to stress if I’m dying. I’m going to stress if I don’t know how tomorrow goes because now I have to put my entire day, and possibly my weekend, on hold for someone’s texts. I can’t not stress about that. There’s inconveniences, and they have consequences, and you can tritely say that God will take care of things but there’s a whole reality out there. Maybe God will make sure I survive the storm, but I might be the person who gets hypothermia from the rain and has breathing trouble for the rest of my life. I might be the person who watches a friend get blown off the ship, and then need to explain to their family what happened. Faith doesn’t change that, and God isn’t always that interested in preventing that. And that isn’t on anyone else: that’s because of Him.

So faith, maybe, isn’t trusting that you will survive, or that you will thrive. Faith is saying you’ll manage regardless. Faith is seeing the storm, and knowing it’s God’s fault, and knowing you’ll still go up to God afterwards and ask what’s next. Faith is coming back for more.

Well, faith might be all three things. Faith that God is with you, faith that you don’t care about the consequences, and faith is staying by God’s side. In which case, I’m lacking in the second one. I care about the consequences of what God is doing in my life, because I’m the one who is going to be suffering through them. (Or living happily, I suppose.)  So yes, I’m going to get ticked off about things. But do I have faith? I do. At least some.

Maybe I’m confusing faith with trust. But that’s another devotional.

No comments:

Post a Comment