Friday, June 26, 2015

“Quiet! Be still!”

“Quiet! Be still!”Watching my nieces and the rule was "only one of you can cry"  and they listened!

Quite a few years ago I was babysitting my three nieces.  They were all under the age of ten and it was the first time I watched them alone.

It was all great fun at first.  We spent some time playing in the front yard kicking a soccer ball around.  One of the girls got very upset and was feeling left out.  She started to cry so I took her in and held her trying to calm her and assure her I loved her and we all loved her.  She was just sobbing in my arms.

Moments later another one must have gotten hurt because she came in screaming and crying as she walked through the garage door.  I didn't know what to do at that point and didn't know how to handle two crying kids.  So in order to have some order (and without much thought), I firmly stated with surprising confidence and serenity: "Uncle Mike has a new rule.  Only one of you can cry at a time!"  To my absolute amazement they BOTH stopped crying.  I think they were both shocked to have such a strange rule!  I was surprised because I felt little control but all of a sudden they listened to me!

It is still a story we tell from time to time and laugh about what an absurd rule that was but said with authority, it worked!

In Mark's Gospel we witness the authority and power of Jesus' voice.

As the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat with Jesus, a "violent squall came" so great that "waves were breaking over the boat" and it began filling up with water.  This was a serious storm and the disciples were understandably panicked.  For some reason Jesus was asleep in the stern on a cushion.  He must have been exhausted and sleeping very comfortably and soundly!

I imagine the disciples all screaming in panic trying to wake him up: "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"

Something very interesting happens here.  Jesus wakes up and said to the sea, "Quiet, Be still!"  And would you believe it?  The sea listened.  He must have spoke so strongly and with such great authority that the storm stopped, the wind ceased, and there was great calm!

Imagine the power and authority of his words.

Now think about it, if just Jesus' speaking can rebuke the wind, calm the storm, and even more so calm his disciples -can't he do the same for us?

Jesus has power over all of creation - including you!   He can calm you!  

Just as my nieces stopped crying at my command how much more powerful is Jesus' command?

I think of this especially when we are going through difficult times, when we are anxious and affraid.  Turn to him and say "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing!"  Because sometimes it doesn't seem like God does care, sometimes it doesn't seem like he is even there.  But He is.... and He waits... for us to wake Him up and ask Him for help. 

I think it's often like this in our own prayer lives as well.  I think there are many times when we sit down to pray and find our minds so distracted, our thoughts racing, our emotions raging, and our temptation is to try and calm the storm ourselves.  We try to calm our minds, or our thoughts, or not think about the things that anger or frustrate us... but how well does that work?

The reality is that only Jesus has the authority to calm the storms in us.  And again if he could calm the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee I think he can handle you and me.  

So the next time you find yourself in a storm either in your life or relationships, or simply in prayer, WAKE HIM UP!   Tell him you are perishing.  Tell Jesus you are struggling and you can't handle it and you need his help. 

You will find that even more than my voice had with my nieces, His authority will bring peace.  

Let Him command all the voices and emotions and feelings as He strongly, courageously, and with authority proclaims: "Quiet, Be Still!"  

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