In the same boat........
by Morag Cameron
Mark 4 v 35-41 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They were terrified and asked each other, "Who is this? Even the wind and waves obey him!"
‘We are all in the same boat’ is the claim made by many about the coronavirus pandemic in these past few months. But is that true? We are definitely in the same storm and we are all affected by what is happening – but are we really in the same boat?
I think our boats in this situation are very different. While some of us have experienced the worst this storm can throw at us, for others the experience has been milder. This storm has meant the loss of loved ones, pain and suffering from the virus for my people, others have lost jobs and income, many felt isolation from the inability to meet up with friends or family and all sorts of other stresses, fear and uncertainty also are felt. With new rules just being issued there is little sign of life returning to the life we once knew.
As followers of Jesus, we struggle with the same things as non-believers: fear, grief, sin, heartache, and doubt. Storms happen in our lives and they can make us doubt God’s love.
One question you may have been asking during this pandemic is one the disciples asked during the storm: "Jesus, don’t You care?"
We are probably not too judgmental towards those fearful disciples who woke Jesus from his sleep with the question ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’ (v38). Jesus surely knew what lay ahead before they all got into the boat. He led them into that storm. But did anyone ever care more for them than Jesus? Perhaps it was to show the disciples that, even in the worst of circumstances, all will eventually be well if they trust in Jesus. Or maybe it was to show they could know peace in even the most violent of storms because He was there beside them. For them it was all about trusting God in that moment, though it was not that easy to do.
Every Christian, at least once, feels like the disciples did in the storm, afraid the water and the waves are about to overcome us while God sleeps. Our eyes grow wide and fill with tears while His eyes seem to stay shut. How is it that Jesus is so close to us in the boat, yet it can feel like He is deaf to our most sincere prayers.
Lack of faith and great doubts can poison our hearts in those moments. Fear ruins our confidence in God’s goodness. It makes us forget every answered prayer and every miracle we’ve witnessed in the past.
In the midst of a storm, remember this story. Decided even if your heart feels fear, choose to hug Jesus tight.
No matter what happens choose to hide yourself in His loving nature.
No matter what storms you meet on the way, our God is faithful and He cares for us and is right beside us in any storm.
Saint Pio of Pietrelcina said: ‘Stay in the boat in which our Lord has placed you, and let the storm come. You will not perish. It appears to you that Jesus is sleeping, but let it be so. Don’t you know that if he sleeps, his heart vigilantly watches over you?
Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties. John Newton wrote about us experiencing ‘many dangers, toils and snares, in life but we know with Jesus aboard God’s grace will surely lead us home.
Loving God, we sometimes struggle with new rules and restrictions from the government about meeting family and friends even though we know the rules are for our protection to keep us safe. Help us remember we can find safety and security in You. When we are troubled, we can find peace in Your name. When we feel weak, we can find strength in Your name. When we feel overwhelmed, we can find rest in Your name. When we feel surrounded by pressures on every side, we can find stability in Your name. Help us to rely on You. Amen