Tuesday, March 05, 2013
A Place to Watch the Rain
One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a quiet place where I can hear the rain falling. Where I can see it pouring from the sky. I hate being caught in the rain, in the cold downpour that seeps through to the bone and chills the body and spirit. But there is comfort in watching rain fall from the place of safety and warmth. The steady rythm and the dull thump, thump, thumping against my window and roof seem to help my soul enter the place of quiet rest.
Outside it is gloomy as I write. With only the widows shedding light I find myself surrounded by shadow. Outside the rains come intermittently. Sometimes mixed with snow. Wind swirling everything around in a cold, wet mess. I think about the cold, wet mess I can be too as I ponder this week's Bible story for Chapel. Mustering up all my creative story-telling abilities I told those squirmy three and four year olds about Jesus calming the sea.
Jesus fell asleep in the boat.
Here is what I told them. That His disciples were fishermen for a living. That they spent lots of time in boats. That they had seen lots of storms. But this storm had them terrified.
We make fun of the disciples for being scared, but consider how big that storm had to be to make seasoned fishermen frightened. So much so that they waken the Lord and ask Him why He was letting them drown.
Jesus, do You not care that this storm is about to EAT US ALIVE!?
He wakes up and says to them, "You of little faith! Why are you afraid?" I know why I am afraid. Because my storms keep getting bigger, that's why. Because the one ahead seems to loom over the one behind me. Jesus, I know You are big enough to whup that one we just went through together, but this thing I'm going through now, do you see the size of that thing? Do You understand the depth of the destruction that it can leave in its wake? Do You see how small I am?
Here is the problem. The disciples were looking at their circumstances with physical sight. In our physical eyes we automatically see and size up. We make instant calculations in our heads and simultaneous comparisons. Our brains are so fast, we know in an instant how this storm ahead stacks up against every other storm we have encountered. And with our physical sight we know the dimensions of what we are seeing, while being well acquainted with the dimensions of our own prowess. We know when we've been beat.
Yet we know nothing of His dimensions. We are not capable of calculating the size of the sleeping Giant in our own boat. And we think because He rests that He is unaware and unavailable and unable. We equate His dimensions with our own and believe only what we can see, which is very, very grim. And might I also add, very, very little.
Because we see the human man asleep in our boat, but we do not see the Offspring of the One and Only God resting at our helm. Our physical eyesight is fine, but our spiritual vision is near blind! The problem in the storm is not that He fails to see how small we are, but that we fail to see how BIG He is!
Here is the thing. I have never seen a storm that the Almighty could not rest through. God at rest is a concept we have great difficulty with. We want God to be always moving. Like us. We want God to be always working. Like us. We want God to be always occupied. Like us. We want God to be constantly demonstrating His prowess. Like us. And yet there is a forebearance in God that we cannot grasp. His Wisdom always comes before His Power. And God at rest is full of Power beyond our ability to measure. The only time we have reason to fear the storm is if Jesus is in a panic bailing water.
He never does that.
If needed, He just ditches the boat and walks on water.
Inviting us to walk too.
Maybe if I were completely honest, that is what I am afraid of. That somewhere between the loftiness of the storm and the smallness of my feet Jesus will ask me to do something that will really put my faith to the test. Maybe what I fear most is that He will ask me to walk on top of the thing I'm most afraid of.
But then again, what if He asks for something that seems even more impossible than walking on water in a storm? What if all He is asking is that we enter into His Rest while we are still in the boat? If God at rest is something we cannot grasp, ourselves at rest is positively unheard of.
No wonder Jesus says we have such little faith.