Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shepastor: "Do We Really Have to Wait Until Then?"

Mark 4: 35-41 NLT
Jesus Calms the Storm

35As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). 37But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.
38Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”
39When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

There is a common acronym that is written upon tomb stones and in obituaries…R.I.P… It stands for, “Rest in Peace.” The hope for those who use this phrase is that those who leave this world will somehow find some rest, some relief, some escape, if you will, from the toils and the struggles and the pain and the cares of this life. But must we wait until then to get some rest…some relief…some freedom…some peace? This passage of Scripture may give us some insights into Jesus’ example. Consider the dynamics of what was happening in this text…

Jesus was tired…tired from a long day of teaching, tired from having the religious leaders look as his miracles and ascribe God’s work to the devil, tired from healing and performing miracles and teaching people about faith…Jesus was tired! And when you get tired enough, you can sleep through almost anything!The disciples were thinking that they were about to have a calm 2 hour trip in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. They too were probably tired, but respected the fact that Jesus probably needed the rest more than they did. So Jesus went and lay down in the back of the boat.

As Jesus lay resting, sleeping, they probably were enjoying the cool breeze, reminiscing about the activities of the day and anticipating what would happen next. A storm, however, was probably not in their view. Isn’t that like life? You’re going along, trying to take it easy, making your plans moving ahead…anticipating that this or that will happen in such and such a time frame and BAM… life happens…all of a sudden what was supposed to take 2 hours ends up taking all day…what was supposed to take one week turns into 5, what was supposed to take 2 years ends up taking 10…what was supposed to be smooth sailing ends up being a storm!

The disciples are literally “taken by storm!” The waves are crashing up against their boat…water is starting to fill up the floor. The wind is violently tossing them to and fro and Jesus is sleeping! WHAT IN THE WORLD!!! They are horrified and Jesus is sleeping… “Jesus, don’t you even care that we are about to drown?” How did Jesus sleep through all of that? Now before you rush to the conclusion that because Jesus is God, He had no reason to fear…listen to how Jesus responds to them…

39When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
A few years ago when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, we felt the violence of that storm here in Ohio. I remember that particular day COYO (Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra) had a concert at Lorain Community College. I had to drive our son Caleb to Lorain – about 45 minutes away. His dad was at work, the other kids were at school and it was just me and Caleb.

At that time I had my old truck that was working on a wing and a prayer! The winds were blowing fiercely, the rain was coming down in torrents…the sky was dark, the air was cold, I was praying and driving…Caleb was fast asleep! I looked over at him and thought to myself, “Boy, how could you be sleeping so sound? Don’t you feel this car rocking and bobbing?” He wasn’t the least bit concerned. He felt completely safe because his mother was driving…he was tired and let his body fall asleep.

Even in the midst of a violent storm, Jesus was “resting in peace.” How did he do that? How did he do it? And why did he ask the disciples why they were afraid? Yes he rebuked the winds and the waves. Yes he ultimately caused all of that to stop…but if we focus on that portion of this story only, we will miss a profound lesson that Jesus was teaching his disciples and subsequently us today.

Jesus wants us to learn how to “rest in peace” while even the storm is raging. He wants us to develop the kind of faith, the kind of trust, the kind of peace that says, “I can rest in peace because my Heavenly Father is driving this car, is sailing this ship… is holding me in the midst of it all and when He gets ready, He will make this storm cease!”

You and I can find rest in the midst of the storm. You and I can lie down in safety. You and I can lay our proverbial heads down on pillows of ease and rest in peace when we train our minds to remember who is driving. Yes, that is easier said than done. But we must learn how to rest by trusting that the Lord our God will see us through! We must learn how to rest by believing that God will make a way somehow.

We must learn how to rest and trust by releasing all of our fears, all of our anxieties about things that we ourselves cannot fix, all of our worries about children and people and relationships that we cannot change…We must learn how to rest and trust…doing what we can and leaving the rest to God… “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference!”

We too can move to the back of the boat and get some rest…even when the storms of life are raging, even when it feels like we are drowning…even when our plans are drastically changed, even when it takes longer than we could have ever imagined…we can find rest like Jesus…we can find rest in trusting our faithful and trustworthy God. We can find rest by releasing our toil, struggle and pain at the feet of Jesus and He will rebuke the winds and the waves…he will cause the storms to cease…and he will carry us over to the other side...Not just heaven, but to the other side of our fears, the other side of our darkness, the other side of our billowing waves…the other side to our victory. God will carry us over, God will sustain us, God will make a way for us…God will carry us through.

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Remember to pray for and honor our Veterans today!

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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