October 14, 2020
As I quieted myself to listen for what I might share in this devotion (unfortunately since the world has been turned upside down, that quiet time seems to happen about 4:00 a.m. when I wake up and have been unable to sleep), my mind wandered to stormy seas.
That is a little of how this pandemic makes me feel. My life is like the boat rocking in the stormy waves, stuck in the middle of a lake with no clear idea of what to do, what direction to go and searching desperately for hope.
Jesus is in the same “storm” we are in . . . and brings calm
One of the stories from the Bible that came to my mind is found in Mark 4:35-39. It is the story where Jesus and the disciples are crossing the lake, leaving the crowd behind. A “furious squall” came up and the boat was almost swamped. Jesus was sleeping on a cushion while the disciples were frightened of the storm.
We can probably all understand what the disciples were feeling. Afraid of the storm (the pandemic) and maybe even a little upset with Jesus. (“Why is this happening?” and “Where are you in this difficult time?”) However, the disciples spoke to Jesus and he said to the waves, “Quiet! Be Still!” The gospel writer tells us that the wind died down and it was completely calm.
I think that is our challenge right now. I believe this “storm” is an invitation to draw us closer to God. Share our concerns and fears. Rest in God’s presence. Find a sense of peace and calm. God yearns to comfort us and still the storm inside of us. Our Lord reminds us we are not alone when we walk back into the world. God will never abandon us.
For me, I often hear God’s voice most clearly in music. The song that came to mind is Oceans (Where Feet May Fail). [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy9nwe9_xzw] The following two verses and the chorus give me comfort right now:
You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
In closing, in Matthew 14:27-31, Jesus is walking on the water towards the boat with the disciples. Jesus said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Peter then decided he wanted to walk on the water towards Jesus and Jesus told him to come.
Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
The lyrics of the song give us insight on how to climb out of the boat and into this world we are in now. We need to keep our eyes above the waves and focused on Jesus, stepping out in faith that God is there and will never abandon us.
Shirley Knight, Certified Spiritual Director
Assistant Director, Seeking the Spirit Within