Most people are familiar with the account of Jesus calming the storm after being asleep in the boat (Mark 4:35-41). After days of teaching with crowds following Jesus wherever he went, Jesus told his disciples, “Let’s go to the other side” (verse 35). Jesus was teaching on the shore of a lake, so boats were required – not a problem, since his disciples were fishermen. There’s a phrase that stuck out to me that I’m still mulling over, “They took him (Jesus) along just as he was” (verse 36). Just as he was. Usually we talk about Jesus taking us “just as we are”. Interesting… But that’s not where I’m going today. I’m more struck by the attitude of the disciples. Let me explain…
That night a storm swelled and overwhelmed the boats, and Jesus slept. His disciples woke him up panicked. “Don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus first calmed the storm and then addressed them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” Once again they were overwhelmed, this time by what Jesus had just done. Verse 41 says they were terrified, and they asked each other who could he really be.
Here’s what I’m considering: If they asked without faith (which is with expectation that God will answer), are they really just complaining? Did they really just wake Jesus up to show him how overwhelming everything was and invite him in to lamenting with them? I know I do that sometimes. I feel overwhelmed with the complications of life, and I need to justify it. So I lament a laundry list of terrible things that are going on to anyone who will listen in order to validate how out-of-control it can all feel. If I’m completely honest, I’ll exaggerate it a bit if I’m not getting the reaction I was expecting. “Oh, I know!” or “I don’t know how you do it!” or even “You poor thing!” are some of the responses I try to elicit. I don’t unleash my complaints expecting that my friendWith Expectations can actually do anything about it. I just want company in my misery, right? I’m guessing, by the disciples reaction to Jesus calming the storm, that they thought they were in the same proverbial boat that I find myself in. But Jesus did something, and they were terrified by it.
Is our view of God so small or our prayers so little faith-fueled that if he actually showed up we would terrified instead of grateful?
Let’s consider some context. Jesus had been performing miracles for daaaaaays… But they had been the same kind of miracles – teaching with authority, healing, casting out demons… Huge stuff, but after daaaaaaays, all in all, it’s still the same kind of stuff. While spectacular, it’s amazing to me how quickly it can achieve “normal” status and how quickly we can put God into a box of what we expect he can do. Then Jesus does something totally outside of that box and demonstrates the power the psalmist David recalls in Psalm 77. We are faced with the fact that God is quite bigger than we had estimated.
What do we do with such a wake-up call? Humble yourself and admit you have more to learn about who God is. Ask him to teach you, to show you; allow it to activate your prayer life so your prayers are no longer meager complaints, but rather laden with expectation. Our God is much bigger than we have estimated!
1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted.
3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.[b]
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked:
7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?”
10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”
13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen.
20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron.
Thanks for reading. This is just one of the ways I put a smile back in the world.
- Posted by hellobabs
- On May 27, 2021
- 0 Comment