Still in the storm
Still in the storm
The way the weather has been in the last days, we might wish that we could get Jesus to stand in our driveway and command the winds to cease, just like he did for the first disciples when they were caught in a sudden and life-threatening storm on the sea of Galilee.
This account recorded in the eighth chapter of Matthew concludes with the disciples in wonder, “What kind of human being is able to command the wind and the waves?” Over the course of the rest of the Gospel, answers to this critical question – “What kind of human being is Jesus?” – will present themselves.
He’s the kind who teaches about the nature of the rule and reign of God.
He’s the kind who commissions and sends his disciples to proclaim the coming of this rule and reign.
He’s the one who will call them to lives of mutual forgiveness.
And he’s the one who will offer his own life as an act of divine forgiveness.
After his resurrection he’s the one who will assume the place of highest honor in all of creation – by virtue of his obedience. He’s the one who will call these same disciples into a lifetime of sharing all that they’d witnessed with him for the hope of the whole world. God, in the person and work of Jesus, had come to and for humanity and all of creation in order to bring it to life.
The storm that Jesus stilled wasn’t just an immediate threat to the lives of those who were in the boat that day; it was a powerful and undeniable reminder for them that creation was not only indifferent to them and their lives, it was actually hostile. In the imagination of first century Palestine, the sea and everything under its surface was the stuff of chaos. It was evil.
Even among those who believe in God and recognize divine intention in the ordering and the power of creation, even these find themselves in situations and circumstances that unambiguously remind that they are not the center of the universe. We might be able to deduce a great deal about the nature of reality, maybe even the nature of God, by carefully examining the world around us, but such an examination won’t confirm the absolutely unequivocal love that God has for you.
When Jesus stills the storm, he not only demonstrates his authority over this creation, but he also expresses his solidarity and care for those who are with him. Not only is the God of creation not indifferent, he is in the same boat both with us – literally and figuratively!
A hope that Jesus might miraculously appear among us and stop the snow and cold is unrealistic. But the promise that God has come to be with us, to love us and bring life in any and all circumstances, is at the center of Christian hope.
Not only is God with us, God is for us.
Peace be with you.
Jan. 30, 2019
Pastor Jim and Deaconess Kristin take turns writing weekly devotions for the Chapel of the Resurrection. Contact them here:
- Archives of Devotional Writings from our Pastoral Staff
- “Some Lent!”
- (Your vocation here) of people
- A Point of Privilege
- Advent = Hope
- All will be well
- Are we willing to cross the road for one another?
- Can we learn to be happy?
- Come and See
- Did Jesus really suffer?
- Doing without in a life of plenty
- Exiles with Vision
- Fear not!
- Feeling at Home
- Finding Purpose in the Journey
- Finding Words for Times Like These
- Forgiving others – and ourselves
- Getting down on Jesus’ level
- Have yourself a merry little Christmas — somehow
- Holy Week and Taking Out the Trash
- Holy Week: The aid station late in the semester
- Hopes & Dreams vs Life in the Wilderness
- How glad we’ll be if it’s so
- In a time of uncertainty, these things are certain
- In praise of plans B … C … D …
- In Praise of Skeptical Disciples
- In the midst of grief, God will bring life
- Is there such a thing as being too forgiving?
- It’s a Three Day Weekend!
- It’s In the Bag
- It’s What’s Happening
- Killing off our future selves
- Lessons in fire building
- Let us work for real wellness in our communities
- Life Is a Highway
- Living in the Present
- O Lord, you know I hate buttermilk
- Of Fear and Failure
- On Christian Unity: When we’re not one big happy church
- On the Bucket List
- Pray and Let God Worry
- Preparing for the world to be turned rightside up
- Recovering from an Epic Fail
- Reformation calls for examination
- Remembering among the forgetful
- Seeing beauty in brokenness
- Signs of Love
- Starting Small
- Still in the storm
- Taking a Break from the Relentless
- Talking ourselves into it
- Thankfulness leads to joyfulness
- The Funny Business of Forgiveness
- The Greatest of These is Love
- The Magi: Exemplars of Faith and Learning
- The Power of Small Conversations
- The Power of Taking a Sabbath
- The Spiritual Gift of Hindsight
- To be known
- We had hoped
- What is your base reality?
- What to do after you find your voice
- What to do on the day after
- What we know and what we don’t know
- When bad things happen
- When joy and sadness live together
- When you offer up your broken cup
- Wilderness Journeys
- Year-end time management: Keeping the main thing the main thing
- Your Valpo roots will help you grow into your future