Matthew 8:26 (NIV)
“He replied, ’You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’
Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”
Mark 4:39 (NIV)
“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ’Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
So often I’ve read this passage and pictured that night out on the water. I used to arrogantly and piously scoff at the disciples. ”Look how dumb they were.” ”How could they still not get it?!” ”How could they not understand that they were safe with him?!”
I’ve grown since then though… a little. The verses just before this are Jesus teaching them how much it will cost them to follow him. He tells them they will be homeless. He tells them they will have to miss important, meaningful family moments. He’s teaching them it will cost them their livelihoods, possibly their families and surely their plans.
He hasn’t given them any comfort. And shortly thereafter, here they are… on a lake in a furious storm in a boat that’s about to be swamped. They’ll drown. Danger is all around. And they run to him. They wake him. They beg him.
They don’t doubt his ability to save them like I used to think. What they doubt is his awareness of the situation. And they seem to have an idea of how he will save them when they ask. I’m curious to know what they were expecting. Maybe they were expecting him to raise the boat out of the water. Maybe they expected the water to suddenly be held back from over the rails of the boat, similar to Moses crossing the Red Sea and God holding the water back. Or maybe… they were expecting him to calm the storm.
Whatever their expectations of his actions, they were afraid. Stressed. Terrified. And they were begging him for help.
In five years of CommuniD BBQs, I have no idea how many times God has calmed the storms for us. I have seen clouds part, literally. I have seen rain inexplicably surround a park without falling on it. Twice. Countless times we have seen and reaped the benefits of those words, “Quiet! Be still!”
Last Saturday. It was raining. The forecast called for heavier rain as the day went on. No relief. No hope of a break in the storm. Just cold, miserable rain. We had three CommuniD BBQs scheduled for the day; Detroit, Hazel Park and Southfield. I got phone calls from all three leaders asking what to do, when to call it off, etc. Three leaders who’ve watched these storms calm in the past with me all concerned, maybe even afraid that we’ll get rained out. I talked them through it, encouraged them, reminded them of miracles of the past and God’s faithfulness in the present. At the end of the day, all three events happened. Not a drop of rain fell where it wasn’t supposed to. Not an once of falling water was left to disrupt God’s plan for the day. A miracle. Again. Amazing.
This Saturday. It’s raining again. It’s grey. It’s cold. It’s miserable weather. The rain wasn’t supposed to let up until at least 4:00 pm. It looked like it would linger on long past then. We had two CommuniD BBQs scheduled for the day; Detroit and Pontiac. I looked outside and thought, we might get rained out today. Again, I got calls from leaders. Again, anxious, nervous, expecting the rain to continue. Again, I reassured them reminding them of God’s faithfulness in the past. What they didn’t know was that this time, I was feeling the same way as they were. I was nervous. I was afraid. I was grasping onto those memories with them. I was needing the reminders every bit as much as they did.
With the shakiness in my soul of a one year old walking, in faith I continued to encourage them (and me). I set out from living in Pontiac to drive to Detroit. Wipers on. Heat on. Cold rain. Answering calls, replying to texts and when no one else was asking me, I was still praying, hoping… no rain. ”Lord, I’m trusting you against my gut instinct of fear. I will speak in confidence that you will again calm the storms; hoping you do.”
We are such forgetful people. We are so quick to lose our faith. We are so quick to be afraid. And we run to him saying, “Lord, our event will drown! Don’t you care? Won’t you help us? Aren’t you paying attention?” I don’t think he was bothered that the disciples asked him for help. They needed help. What he rebukes them for is their fear and lack of faith.
I can scoff at their lack of faith all I want. I mean, they could see Jesus right in front of them after all. But I am every bit as deserving of that scoffing myself. I may not yet have seen Jesus physically in front of me. But I have seen the fruit of his words, ”Quiet! Be still!” countless times.
So today… AND last week… God held back the clouds!! In these last 2 Saturdays we’ve seen over 500 people share a meal together. There have been 5 CommuniD BBQs in 4 locations with 14 partnering groups. It’s been an incredible couple weeks!
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen God work miracles with the weather on Saturday afternoons. Five years and we’ve cancelled only 4. That’s quite a track record of good weather! And yet every time I can hardly believe it! Our God still calms the storms! And He creates space for His Body to form and love at a common table.
My God… YOU ARE AMAZING!!