Luke 8: 22-25, Isaiah 43 & Philippians 4:4-9

Narrowing the Gap: Part 2

Navigating Stormy Days

There is no doubt that life can be a challenge for we live in an age of anxiety. There are a lot of things or reasons to feel concern about, afraid of, anxious about, or sad & angry about in life such as: illness, pain, suffering, terrorism, war, death, broken families, conflict, financial issues, environmental changes, loss, loneliness, etc. The pain of the world can seem so all encompassing & overwhelming at times don’t you think?

An attitude of negativity, fear, & anxiety not only mutes our Spirit but contributes to making us physically & mentally unsettled & not well. It is difficult to live in a spirit of gratitude & praise to God when we are weighed down with sorrow, anxiety, pain & despair. So, how can we awaken the slumbering joy & gratitude of our hearts that comes from knowing, trusting & believing in the Lord who brings the Holy peace that passes all understanding & makes us whole? How can we bridge the gap between fear & gratitude?

Many answers to the challenges we face in life are contained in the Bible & told through stories that reflect symbols or metaphors for us of God’s nature & actions given for us when we are in challenging times. In the New Testament in the Gospel of Luke chapter 8:22-25, we find the story of Jesus calming the sea. In this story we read that Jesus & His disciples were in a boat fishing. Jesus was in the back of the boat exhausted & asleep as He was very tired from all He had been giving. The disciples were fishing. They were experienced fishermen & knew the lake very well & they would never have gone out on it if they thought that they would get caught in a storm. But, the ferocity of a storm often comes out of nowhere, with no warning & that is what happened to the disciples. As Jesus their teacher slept peacefully, suddenly a huge gale of wind whipped up without warning & their boat was violently tossed about, taking on water. We read that the disciples became scared for their lives & thought they were about to sink. In their fear & anxiety, they woke Jesus up shouting to Jesus: “Master, Master, we are perishing.” Hearing their fear Jesus woke up & rebuked the wind & the raging waves & they ceased & the sea calmed. The disciples had a difficult time understanding how Jesus was able to actually control the raging wind & thus calm the water. Jesus responded by calling them out regarding their little faith, for He hoped that they trusted Him & believed He would protect them & could do all things.

And so it is with us, in the weakness of our faith, in the chaos of our lives, in the midst of the anxieties & fears, we too call out to Christ in confidence that He will hear us & will meet with us when the storms of our lives assail us. This story of Jesus calming the storm & calming the sea is a symbol & reminder for the disciples & now for all of us that God can still the chaos & the disorder in our lives & it illustrates the Divine power of God at work in the world. Throughout the Bible we are taught that the way to communicate with God is to pray. Prayer, trust in God & gratitude & praise are the rubrics for holding our life in relationship to God. We bridge the gap between our earthly pain & challenges & our peace that passes all understanding as we commune with God through prayer. The gift of peace that transcends all earthly understanding awaits us & ushers us into healthy living. If we are persistent in prayer with our living God, if we enter into a sacred pause from the chaos of this world & commune with God, He will meet us in our need & like the disciples in the storm, we will be rescued, changed & amazed at His authority in our lives.

Give thanks with a grateful heart in trust & in faith, in prayer give thanks with a grateful heart to our living God. By day & by night let your life become a living prayer. AMEN.

 

~Posted by Rev Kathryn Bindig, MDiv. MS; Pastoral Care Minister with assistance from Rich Muscatello; Director of Business Development & Strategy

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