In these readings we are reminded of the power and the brilliance and the wonder of God’s Glory. In Genesis, God’s presence and power is shared with Adam. In Revelation, God’s presence and power is displayed to John and in Luke, God’s presence and power is revealed to the disciples.
Amidst the enormity of His presence and His holiness there is still care and concern and love for all that He has created. Through God’s love, John is taken into the reality of the awesome nature of eternal heavenly worship and allowed to know something of the future. Through God’s love, Adam is placed in a wonderful world and blessed with a partner. Through God’s love, the disciples witness God’s power and move from fear to faith within a life-threatening situation.
I wonder if you can recall a moment in your life where a situation has hit you without warning like a violent storm? Illness, finances, bereavement, family crisis? They take us by surprise, and we’re left facing the challenge of how we respond.
The Sea of Galilee is noted for the way in which violent storms can suddenly break out. It’s to do with its geography. 600 ft below sea level, surrounded by flat land that rises to mountains with deep ravines in between. The ravines act as giant funnels that channel the wind and hurl it out across the water. The resulting storms can descend very quickly, changing calm still water into a wild and raging sea that places lives in peril. This is what took place that day.
Jesus is clearly tired and asks his friends to take him across the lake. It’s lovely to see how he places his trust in the skill and seamanship of the disciples to transport him safely over, and so he settles down to sleep in the boat. The peace and quiet doesn’t last very long as a violent storm, descends, but despite the wind and the waves Jesus remains calm, untroubled and asleep. You can imagine the noise and the men shouting out to one another, struggling with the ropes and the wind and the rain, but none of that disturbs Jesus, so the disciples place their trust in Jesus to rescue them and they wake him up.
A couple of simple but very important Kingdom principles are present here. 1: when trouble comes our way, we need to ‘wake Jesus up’ in our lives and stop trying to rescue a situation in our own strength and 2: when trouble comes our way, we need to decide where we will place Jesus. Will we place fear between ourselves and Jesus or Jesus between ourselves and the fear? That decision is crucial and changes everything.
When storms hit, and storms will and storms do, we can blame God or look to God for the help that we need. I can remember being told this truth so many times as a child and thank God that I was, because when I needed to apply it, I could remember and look to God for that help.
With the Lord’s blessing,
Rev Dave Clark
Vicar of the Benefice of Upper Wensleydale