Hannah Hallett has provided the reading notes this week.
It’s time to rock the boat. See what I did there? You’ll probably need to read the passage before you get that joke. The passage can be read here.
I remember when I was about eight we travelled to France on a ferry, we used to go camping as a family in France every summer so we’d been a few times before. This was the only time we experienced what my parents called a “rough crossing”. I remember sitting in the restaurant eating our dinner and seeing our plates slide up and down the tables. I thought the whole thing was an adventure, my sister Beth was not so impressed.
Again, this is a really familiar passage. It was only when I began to write some thoughts on this that the question “why was Jesus sleeping?” occurred to me. I’ve obviously never really taken that part in. Also, how should the disciples have reacted? Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith but what would great faith have looked like here? This isn’t as simple as saying that we need to follow Jesus in the storms of our lives, of course that is true, but here the disciples are in a life-threatening position. It’s not a metaphorical storm, it’s real, it’s scary, and Jesus is asleep.
It seems to me, that Jesus’ sleeping through the storm is an example of how to live with faith in that situation. If the disciples had been bailing water or throwing things overboard in order to stay afloat it would have also shown that they lack faith. Jesus didn’t expect them to spring into action but instead expected his friends to wait and to trust. For us, it means that we have to trust that God knows the trials we’re going through and has a plan to prosper us (however bleak it may seem at the time!). Sometimes, we have to wait in faith. If I’m honest, this is a real challenge for me. I’d much rather be called to do something courageous and respond in faith than wait. J. John (an evangelist) says that if you allow God to be in the driving seat of your life, you can’t become a back seat driver. The disciples were back seat driving here, telling Jesus the way they’d like him to react – in Mark’s account they ask him “don’t you care if we drown?”. Jesus always cares, he always knows and, as he demonstrates in this passage, he has the power to calm our storms.
The key thing here though is that although Jesus tells them that they have a lack of faith, he still deals with it. They fail in their faith but he never fails in his faithfulness. Praise the Lord that this is the case for us too! We can look back at certain times and see that we lacked faith, it can be hard to let it go sometimes. God is faithful, he is gracious and he doesn’t expect us to beat ourselves up about things we’ve been forgiven for. He remains faithful to us even when our own faith is nowhere to be seen.
Thank you God that you are faithful in the face of our faithlessness. Help us to trust you to “drive” our lives, help us to act and to wait in faith when things are hard and when we’re scared.