Still straining at the oars?

You may have heard the story of Jesus stilling the storm many, many times. Most sermons on it offer us the reassurance that Jesus will be with us in the storms of life and can even bring us peace in the storm. As I read the story again yesterday in Mark’s gospel (Mark 4: 35-41), a few other thoughts came to me.

Firstly, it was Jesus who wanted to go across to the other side of the lake. Although fully human while on earth, he clearly possessed insights from his close relationship with God. Did he know there was going to be a storm? If so, why did he want to lead his friends into it?

After his disciples had woken him up and he’d stilled the storm, he asked them, “Have you still no faith?” What faith was Jesus looking for? Faith that the storm would pass? Faith that God would protect them? Faith that they would get to the other side? Was Jesus disappointed that they had been unable to weather the storm and see it through in the knowledge that he was with them, without him having to intervene?

We can perhaps imagine the disciples, a number of whom were fishermen who would have been used to storms, straining at the oars to keep the boat on course (or perhaps they’d even decided to go back; we’re not told). Was Jesus looking for the sort of faith that lets go of the oars, surrenders to the storm and entrusts to God where they might wash up? Are you currently straining at the oars, set on your course as your boat is buffeted by a storm raging around you? Is God calling you to let go and see where you wash up?

Published by Angie Allport

Methodist minister

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