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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Mark 4:35–41

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (NRSV)

The storms of life unexpectedly appear whether we like it or not. During these times of crisis our stability and security is threatened. Often a life crisis is a defining moment. We can choose fear or faith. Depending on the intensity of the occurrence, we may doubt if we will survive.

In this well-known story, the disciples are frightened by the stormy assault. They feared the boat would be destroyed, leading to their demise. Picture it: Jesus is comfortably asleep on a cushion while the disciples are in a complete state of panic. They wake Jesus with the exclamation, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” In response, Jesus quiets the storm by speaking peace, using the all-too-recognizable words “Peace! Be still!”

When troubles assail, it is easy to forget Jesus is all powerful. The straightforward message in this familiar story is Jesus has command over life’s storms. Jesus is in complete control. The less obvious point is that Jesus was in as much control sleeping as wide awake. Either way, asleep or awake, we are just as secure in the loving care of Christ.

At times life can seem like an unrelenting passageway from one storm to the next. There are times when it feels that way for me, and I imagine it is the same for you. During times of distress, I experience fear much like the disciples.

The storms of life can knock us around in a way that deceives our faith. In our own strength we lack the capacity to overcome life challenges. God wants us to trust him in times of despair. Our hurting is never a surprise to the Lord. God is always orchestrating every circumstance for God’s glory and our benefit.

Awesome God, give us grace to trust you through each life trial, large or small. Guide us through the storms of life, and help us know your peace through life pressures, disappointments, and failures until we fully realize you are in complete control. Amen.

Written by Robert Crouch, Director of Volunteer Ministry

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