There is something life giving about water. Since I was a little boy, I have always had a fascination with water. My mother told the story of when I was ten, I grabbed the garden hose, and held her and my little brother trapped in the corner of our yard. After she explained I was going to get a spanking for this little prank, I did the only natural thing there was to do. If you are going to get in trouble anyway, you might as well really have some fun. So I soaked them down. Years later my mother was still a little bitter that I laughed my way through the whooping. There is something life giving about water.
On a hot summer day, there is simply nothing more refreshing than water. Whether it be in a tall clear glass, or jumping into a cool lake, or swimming pool water refreshes, and restores. The first time I saw the ocean, it was as if something in my soul was released. I sat on a cliff for hours and watched as the rhythm of the wave’s ministered to the earth, and to me with each movement. God’s creation, water, seemed to me to be as big as God himself. In my mind the angels singing, have the constant, melodic rhythm of the sea. Graceful, eloquent, never ending praise to the one who created it. There is something life giving about water.
However, there is a dark stormy side to water. A side ugly, and mysterious, uncontrollable, hidden and cruel. A number of years ago I received a midnight call. Seven teenagers from the local bible camp went to the Dairy Queen and afterward went to Homme Dam for a swim. Seven ran off the end of the dock and dove in, only six rose from the waters. As chairman of the board of the bible camp it fell to me to take the six remaining bible camp staff to the county jail so they could give there depositions. When they were done I spent some time talking to the Sheriff. I asked him, point blank, “were these young people in any way irresponsible, or even careless.” This is what he said, “No, absolutely not, they were only doing what kids do, having fun after a warm summers day. It’s just that Homme Damn has been waiting to take someone for years, and she finally did.”
There is a dark stormy side to water. No one would have known this better than fisherman on the Sea of Galilea. This little body of water, was notorious for suddenly springing to life and raging against everyone in its boundaries. The very thing that gave them life would grow wild and uncontrolled and kill them in a moment. It is said of this lake that on a calm clear day storms can come roaring down the mountain valleys and onto this lake in a matter of minutes. This was surely the case in our Gospel text from Mark 4.
37 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
One moment the sea is calm and the next the boat is about to be swamped. Life is like that. The last two weeks storms have arisen on CSC Scania. Winds of death and chaos struck and we fought against these winds, as we have devoted our lives to do, to bring order and provide security. Many hands manned the oars in different ways to take care of those caught in the storm.
When things like this happen the waters threaten to capsize us and with each stroke of the oar we fight. And there is something with in us during these times that begs to ask a single question, the same question the disciples ask, “Jesus, do you not care that we are perishing? God, why does it seem you are sleeping?” I ask it. In the dark moments of life, I’m betting so do you. And when we ask this question we receive the same answer the disciples received. Jesus says to us…
“Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?”
We are afraid because there was no apparent reason for that sixteen year old boy’s death just because he wanted to go swimming after a hot summer day. There is no apparent reason for a twenty-two year old soldier to be killed. There is no apparent reason for the hardship that is suffered by the innocent children who come to Smith Gate for medical care. Even back home doctors walk down the hallway with rotten news and accidents happen. We are afraid because we feel powerless in the wake of uncontrollable events. And we know, but by the grace of God it easily could happen to us, or to one of ours.
Our fear mounts, like a raging storm, because we realize how fragile life is. The storm threatens to overtake us, and we cry out to God, “God why are you sleeping?” And God does the very same thing, God has always done, He speaks…
“Peace, be still.”
And the storm subsides, sometimes not right away, but at the very least we begin to see that there is someone more powerful than the storm. We begin to understand there is someone bigger than the storm and more powerful than the waters that threaten to overtake us. And like the disciples in the boat we wonder with awe...
“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
We no longer ask why, all our questions of why become absorbed in a question of who. Who will save us from the stormy waters of chaos, sin, pain, sorrow, tears, and death. Jesus. Regardless of what side of the Atlantic Ocean you find yourself on when you read this, know this. Know the truth about storms. There is no storm strong enough to wrestle you away from the hand of God. No storm is big enough to overshadow his grace and mercy. You are safe. Faith is restored. Life returns. God is here. He speaks and even the storms obey. God Bless you.