Thursday, August 21, 2014

Adrift in the Storm

Matthew 8:18  Now when Jesus saw great crowds around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. 19  A scribe then approached and said, "Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." 20  And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 21  Another of his disciples said to him, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." 22  But Jesus said to him, "Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead." 23  And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. 24  A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. 25  And they went and woke him up, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" 26  And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, you of little faith?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. 27  They were amazed, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?"

Matthew writes this at a time when the first Christ-followers were struggling for life. Following Jesus resulted in some of them losing homes as they fled persecution; others found themselves cut adrift from the traditional (Jewish) faith that had nurtured them; while most had to deal with the loss of Jesus’ company and direction. Matthew remembers a story told by Jesus – a story that tells of a moment when the first disciples were very afraid; and of how the presence of Jesus calmed their fears.

Two thousand years later we too can go to this story and discover courage for our own lives. Despite what some television preachers suggest, Jesus does not promise that fearful things will never happen to us. Bad things do happen to good people. However, despite the storms that toss our lives into disarray, we can discover the courage of Jesus steadying our frail vessel. Let us not be dismayed by the encounters with evil that come our way – instead let us learn to trust Jesus to help us navigate the storms of life.     

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
o    Refrain:
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Ordinary 21
43 Jesus is the Way
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 266.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day

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