Today’s post comes from Barry in Cameroon.
I like Mark’s style. I like the fact that he didn’t leave out the ‘irrelevant details’, mainly because I don’t think that they are extraneous. The first example that the author mentioned (the extra boats) draws a picture of the pressures mounting on Jesus and His disciples at the time of the story. Jesus and the disciples ‘leave the crowds behind’. Obviously it is time for rest. The seemingly impertinent detail that ‘there were other boats with him’ reminds us how difficult it is to find solitude and rest especially when it is most needed. Who were the folks in these others boats? Could it be that some of the crowd had their own vessels and desired to follow them? We don’t know. All we know is that they were not alone.
I remember a commercial that used to be on TV. A woman is listening to her children screaming, the doorbell sounding, the phone ringing. The screen divides into the many views of the problems that surround her. She is in the center clutching her head as she shouts out the name of the product that will ‘take me away!’ If you know it, you are officially dated. Next frame we see a contented housewife surrounded by the bubbles of her long awaited retreat from the world of chaos. The thing is, we all need to get away. Jesus did it. Only His faith was in something greater than bubble bath.
The second ‘irrelevant detail’ (Jesus sleeping on a cushion) is a great picture of how He did it. He actually prepared a comfortable place to sleep. He didn’t just fall asleep somewhere out of pure exhaustion. He got a pillow. Probably fluffed it up and got it just so under his head and neck. He was purposed about resting. The furious squall was in perfect contrast to the rest into which He had already entered. The disciples were in perfect parallel with the storm. What would they do with this overly phlegmatic crew member? He needed to understand that rest was contrary to His wellbeing. He needed to understand that this was action time, not quiet time.
Yet the first word he said when he got up was, ‘Quiet!’ The next two were, ‘Be still!’ What was the return message to the frantic seamen? ‘Where is your faith?’ Is it in the storm? Or is it in me? Oh, to be like You Jesus. That’s what I feel when I read this. I have a hard time resting. I know I need it. Jesus was sure it was time to ‘get away’. He knew that there was just so much a person can handle . . . and He is God! When He spoke to the wind and waves, there was ‘dead calm’, much like a guy sleeping on a cushion. He didn’t need the storm to stop for His own rest. Perhaps He did it for His disciples so that they could see His ability to take care of them. Perhaps He was just proclaiming the importance of rest in a dramatic way . . . reconciling the world to Himself in inexplicable ways.
His is Uncontrollable! Unmanageable! Untamable! Unbounded power, wisdom, and love! He does allow the storms to rage around us. Sometimes He is even orchestrating the storms. Yet to find our rest in any other place is at best temporary and at worst self-destructive. To be at the mercy of the storm is to subject ourselves to an unloving force of nature . . . one that doesn’t care if we survive. To trust in Jesus . . . to cling to Him in the midst of the storms of this life . . . is to place ourselves at the mercy of the One who paid the ultimate price for love. He has endured the ultimate storm for our sakes and the sake of His name. He will deliver fully one day. Faith in the midst of the storms is His gift to those who continue to cry out to Him.
In what ways are you at the mercy of the ‘storms’ of life? Are you frantically trying to combat or control the forces that are raging around you? Are you simply waiting for the storm to pass or are you clinging to the One who loves you? If you are clinging, how does that happen for you? I would love to hear how you are preparing to rest in Him.