What Did Ya Expect?
This week sucked y’all.
And it wasn’t because it was a bad week… although if I’m being honest, it wasn’t a great one. It was a bad week because I made it a bad week. It was because in the midst of chaos, all I could see was the storm.
This week was filled with nights spent up sick, an unexpected move from my apartment, tears in my boss’s office, and forgotten birthdays. And each time something happened, I found myself more and more overwhelmed. Each day I found that tears came more readily. Things that would never bother me suddenly had me ugly crying. Spilled milk had me exasperated. Extended work hours had me annoyed. I let my emotions snowball and tangle themselves.
This month I’ve been re-reading the book of Mark as many times as I can. Last night, for probably the fourth time in a couple weeks, I read the story of Jesus calming the storm. But for the first time in a couple weeks, the story deeply struck me. At the end of Mark 4, Jesus suggests going from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other side, Gerasenes. Upon leaving, Jesus falls asleep and the disciples find themselves in a boat taking on water because of a huge windstorm. The disciples wake him up and ask, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus wakes up and calms the wind and sea. He then rebukes the disciples for their fear and lack of faith. And then, even after the calming of the storm, the disciples are afraid, saying, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
As I mentioned, I’ve read this story several times this month. I’ve read this story countless times over the course of my life. And just now, for the first time ever, I realized the disciples didn’t expect Jesus to calm the storm. The disciples didn’t wake Jesus up when the windstorm arrived. They woke Jesus up after “the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling” (v.37). Only after the disciples realized the situation was completely out of their control, and that their boat might sink do they finally wake Jesus up. Jesus calms the storm but then afterwards, still rebukes them for being “so afraid” and we are told they are filled with “great fear” (v.40 and v.41). So why do they wake him up? Do they want him to help with getting water out of the boat? To take cover? To just be with them in the midst of their anxiety? To yell at Him for not caring?
The other part of this story I never paid attention to before is that Jesus was asleep in the stern. The stern, for all you non-boating guys and gals, is the back of the boat. The back of the boat is usually where the boat is controlled. It is also, ironically, where the water is supposed to be kept out. HA. I used to think that the disciples woke up Jesus angry that he wasn’t doing his job. But now, I wonder if the disciples let him sleep for so long because they didn’t think He would be much help. The disciples by trade were fishermen. They knew boats. They likely had been through a storm or two and had bailed water out of boats before. Maybe they figured they could do a better job than Jesus—that He would just get in the way while they tried to do their jobs. Maybe they only woke Him because they felt they needed some extra hands.
If the disciples had truly known the power of their friend, had trusted the power that He held, they would have woken him up without feeling a need to “do their job” first. They would have woken him up without a doubt the storm would cease and the boat would be fine. They also would’ve woken Him up a lot sooner… before the waves were crashing over the sides of their ship.
Oh how close to home this hit for me. Why do I wait until the waves are breaking into the boat? Why do I wait until my boat is completely filled up before I ask Jesus to calm the storm? Why do I try to bail water out of the boat myself for so long? Do I really think I’m better at being in control? I am so quick to forget friends. I am quick to forget that Jesus doesn’t fall asleep while in control because He wants things to be out of control. Jesus falls asleep because things are so under control, He can be in a place of deep, supernatural rest. We serve a God who is not just powerful, but sovereign. We serve a God we can expect to calm any storm.
So yes, this week was filled with chaos. But I am done trying to bail myself out. I am ready to wake up the person at the wheel and ask them to say, “Peace, be still,” to my heart and to my situation.
Please Note: Sorry to everyone around me for the tears and emotional hot mess. Love you all dearly.