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Who is this, anyway?

“Overcome with awe, they said to each other, ‘Who then is this?  Even the wind and the sea obey him!'” Mark 4:41 (CEB)

Jesus and the disciples are in the process of sailing across the Sea of Galilee when a storm whips up.  Jesus, seemingly uncaring, is asleep at the back of the boat and proceeds to sleep right through the storm.  The disciples, on the other hand, start to panic and begin to become irritated with him.  How could he ignore this situation!  What does he think he is doing!  We are going to drown, and Jesus doesn’t even care!

Hey – I’ve been in that kind of boat before, not literally, but certainly in the boat of life.  There are times when I have let my trust in God’s ability to get me through the storms of life go right down the drain.  I think have to handle all this stress and pressure by myself or wallow in grief without asking for support or struggle with the challenges of life without keeping my foundation in tact.  It’s so easy to let go of that anchor and think that we are in this all by ourselves.

When Jesus is awakened by the terrified disciples, he stands and commands the wind and rain to stop, and it does.  Then THEY are amazed!  How interesting that they have already witnessed his healings and miracles, and yet they ask, “Who is this, anyway?”  The writer of Mark continually points out the disciples’ lack of understanding and comprehension.  Repeatedly, they need to be reminded that Jesus is no ordinary person, but one who brings the very presence of God into the world.

We really go through those times, too.  Come on, admit it, you know you have!  It’s unavoidable!  We are, after all human!  We do, after all, have our doubts and fears.  We will, after all, struggle at times to trust the presence of God, especially in the lowest or most fearful of times.

What might be helpful would be to write down the “hindsight” we can take with us when we look back at a situation and recognize God’s presence in it even though we weren’t aware.  How did we get through it?  Who did God send to be our companions on the journey?  In what ways do we recognize God’s hand helping hold us up in the middle of the storm.  Did our boat sink?  Probably not if we are reading this!

Many of us can think of times when our parents were there for us, helping us through a crisis or difficult time.  With this Sunday being Father’s Day, it’s helpful to think of our father’s or those who were father-figures in our lives who were there for us in those times of need and uncertainty.

When I was growing up, my dad worked very hard to support our family of six.  My mom was a stay at home mom who worked hard, managed the budget (such as it was), and could make a meal out of almost nothing.  Dad appreciated her abilities, and he was there for us whenever he could be.  He rarely missed a concert or school celebration, and his big insistence was that we all sit down together to have our evening meal at the same time.  School activities, homework, or play all waited until we sat around our family table, said the blessing, ate and shared conversation, and helped clear the table.

I have carried that desire with me even to this day, many years later.  It was a wonderful example of holding us together as a family and helping us connect.  Truthfully, as adults my three siblings and I have sometimes felt far apart, even though three of them live within half an hour’s drive from each other (I’m the only stray living 1500 miles from home).  Yet, when Mom went into the nursing home with Alzheimer’s Disease, we came together, communicated better, and all pitched in to help Dad as he tried to cope with Mom’s gradual fading away and eventually living without her.

Dad, in spite of working a lot when we were kids, was still there for us, and we in turn have been able to be there for him.  He went through the storm of Mom’s illness and death, and we were able to be his companions on the journey.  None of us doubted the presence of Christ in the storm.  We were there for each other.  Even in the howling winds and rain of tears in our grief, we could be together because from the very beginning, God was the glue that held us together and brought us back together.  We need not be afraid even though it might seem like Jesus is asleep in the boat.  He is there.

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