Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: STORM (10/05/17)
TITLE: Picture It
By Kathleen Muldoon
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Evening creeps upon us and I’m exhausted. All day I’ve stood and listened while Jesus taught crowds on the shore. At last he disperses them and invites us disciples into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee. Praise God! The gentle splashing of the oars nearly lulls me to sleep. Suddenly a storm sweeps down from the surrounding cliffs, whipping the water into a frenzy of colossal waves that engulfs our tiny boat. My scream “We’re going to die!” freezes as bile pools in my throat. I glance to my left; unbelievably, Jesus is asleep on a cushion in the stern!
I grasp the side of the boat, hold my breath, and prepare for my watery grave.
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” someone shouts.
Through wind-driven mist I watch Jesus stand, stretch out his hands, and say, “Quiet, be still.” Immediately the squall subsides and the water returns to its earlier calm! He looks at us and asks, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Really, Jesus? Why are we afraid? I can’t believe what he just said. Yes, I’m afraid! How can I have faith when my life is at stake?
I open my eyes and bask in the familiar surroundings of my living room. I ponder the scene I’ve just visualized. “Picture it then journal it,” our Bible study leader instructed us a few weeks ago. This is my third attempt at placing myself in a Bible scene, meditating on it, and then journaling. This meditation on Mark 4:35-41 differs from is my previous two experiences, in which I stood on the sidelines and marveled at Jesus’ healings and teachings. But now! Why would Jesus disparage the disciples’ very human and understandable fear? How could Jesus expect them to have faith this early in their association with him? Do the disciples fully understand who Jesus is? Do I? I grab my journal and pen.
Faith and fear. Fear and faith. The way Jesus puts it, the two cannot co-exist. If I have faith, I will not fear. If I am afraid, I have no faith. Jesus used the word “still.” Looking back through the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, I find actions of Jesus that might have given the disciples a basis for a burgeoning faith in the man they called Teacher…healing many of physical ailments and delivering others from evil spirits; gifting the disciples with authority to drive out demons. But this storm, this was the first to directly affect the lives of the disciples.
Storms…I too have faced major storms in my life—as a young adult, months of chemotherapy followed by amputation of my leg; and, quite recently, the agony of relinquishing my care of a beloved family member to the staff of an Alzheimer’s assisted living facility. In these and many lesser squalls, my fear has subsided only after I’ve surrendered my situation to God’s providence—and yes! That surrendering, that trust, is faith.
I need to return to the boat. This time I will be Jesus, reclining in the stern, and seeing us disciples as he does. Picture it…
Bible quotes from NIV.
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