Texts: Job 38:1-11; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41
We all know that there are many types of storms that arise that do not involve literal wind and waves. Storms of despair in arise from troubled marriages and terminal illness; whirlpools of grief or depression may threaten to suck us into the abyss; political battles rage like thunder and lightning. In these past weeks, the fight over immigration policy has become a particularly heated topic that has tugged at our hearts and stoked the fires of outrage. When these storms arise, we find ourselves in the boat with the disciples, faced with the same problems. Where will we turn for salvation? In whom will we place our trust?
In our fear, we dehumanize those whom we deem to be dangerous—immigrants, for example—so that we can feel righteous as we respond to the threat they pose with “zero tolerance” in the name of safety. This kind of fear-mongering betrays a lack of faith in the one who is asleep in the boat with us. It relies upon fear to motivate and activate us in a way we do not trust reason or morality or common sense to do.
And so we are all guilty of faithlessness. To have faith in Christ means to trust Christ and to follow him even when the storm is raging. On the Sea of Galilee, the disciples learn that Jesus has power even over the wind and waves. The unasked question as Jesus draws ever nearer to Jerusalem and the cross is whether the disciples will use what they learned about Jesus in the storm to understand what is going to happen at Golgotha.
Faith in God gives us the ability to see one another as God sees us. This is why our hearts break for people beset by war and oppressed by restrictive governments, for people fleeing their homes to seek a new start elsewhere, and for families separated at the border. God’s love for us allows us to see these people not as problems to be solved but siblings to be welcomed and cared for; not immigrants or terrorists or criminals, but people for whose lives Christ has died to save.
That is why we finally trust in Jesus and not ourselves; not even the best or smartest or strongest among us. Trusting in Jesus to deliver us does not mean sitting on our hands waiting for God to do all the work. It means trusting Jesus enough to follow him, to carry our own crosses while striving for peace and justice for all who are oppressed; to suffer afflictions, hardships and calamities, to endure beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights and even hunger if that’s what it takes because we trust and hope that it is by loving and Jesus loves and doing as Jesus does that God’s kingdom may also come about in and through us.