What on earth is God doing?
I recently attended a dinner with a group of high-flying business men and women. As the evening wore on (and the effects of a few drinks began to sink in) it seemed that it became almost a competition for them to outdo one another in their boast about all their exploits. But then, the man sitting opposite shared in a moment brutal honesty. He said, “I don’t know what on earth is going on in our world, but it’s going crazy! Seriously, there are days when I just want to pull the ‘dooner’ up over my head and wish the world would just ‘go away’.”
I don’t know how many of you may be tempted to feel that way. Certainly, it is probably pretty sure that we all have people in our churches who are feeling this way. There are times when, for all of us, it feels like everything around us is going crazy!
I imagine that Jesus’s disciples may well have felt like that the night they sailed out across the lake straight into the eye of a huge storm. We read about it in Matthew 14. The curious thing about this is that these disciples found themselves smack bang in the middle of a storm when they were just doing what Jesus told them (v.22).
Sometimes we are inclined to think that when we follow Jesus’s direction everything should be plain sailing. But the truth is, it doesn’t always work that way. So, what do we do we face the storm through our obedience? The lesson those disciples needed to learn was that they needed to trust Jesus even when they couldn’t see him, when they couldn’t really understand. You may remember that in Mark’s account of this incident he tells us that, though they could not see Jesus, he saw them straining at the oars (Mk 6:48). Oh, what assurance there is to know that regardless of what we are going through, he sees us.
But then, Matthew tells us that in the early hours of the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water. At first these poor disciples became even more distressed, thinking they’d seen a ghost. But, then through the gloom and darkness they heard the reassuring words of Jesus, “Take courage! It is I.” (Or, quite literally I AM!) What they needed to be reminded of in that moment was the truth that the great I AM was with them, even in the midst of their distress and fears.
You’ll remember how the story ends with Jesus getting into the boat with them and a great peace descending upon the whole situation. It reminds me of the promise found in Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”
Perhaps this should be a word of encouragement to some of us who are struggling with all that is going on around us as we simply seek to be obedient to the call of God upon our lives.
Peter Francis (Principal)