My facebook feed is flooded with posts about comparing this Coronavirus pandemic to a storm. Pictures of little row boats amidst thunderous bolts of lightening with captions describing everyone being the same storm but each of us experiencing it differently.
Almost as quickly as they appear, the Facebook floodwaters recede only to come back on to shore flooding my feed with countless statistics from reliable sources, unreliable sources, friends, family and strangers. Post after post. Some are heartwarming, detailing people singing through windows to loved ones who are quarantined. Some are heroic with images of healthcare workers covered in PPE’s with grooves bored into their faces where mask have marked their territory that day. And let’s not forget the posts that are shaming you for not doing your part to protect humanity. Or friends reposting scientific numbers after countless hours of scrolling mindlessly only to recreate the same posts but with their hypothetical projections for the cure for Covid. The posts are like when the tsunami wave finally reaches shore digging its shoulders low, pushing masive amounts of water inland, with its hind legs. You can hear trees snapping and people screaming in fear. Cars being moved, scooting along the streets into others as if being swept into a dustpan to be thrown away with the evening trash. Seemingly no end in site.
A 7 week and counting storm, and the end and beginning of each day we are left with one question. When is this storm going to end? We go to bed in wonder. We wake up and bump our heads on the upper bunk, swinging our legs over the bed and into our slippers, climbing the narrow ladder out of our quarters, stumbling towards the deck looking off the bow, drawing the same conclusion we landed on yesterday; the storm is still upon us. And so we wait, we check Facebook, we wait for press conferences and reopening announcements. Oh you darned storm. We watch for when the storm will be over. We hope to see clear skies ahead. Our lives are being navigated by this storm.
Unless……..its not about the storm.
In a brief account of an entirely different storm some 2000 years ago, not as big in size but surely as life threatening to the people caught in it, one man describes a squall so big the boat was being swamped. Another man says a furious squall came up, waves breaking over the boat. A truly life threatening situation. Yet on this boat was a man capable of rebuking the sea, responsible for creating humanity from dust and harnessing life within his breath. Jesus was on this boat. The men on the boat recount the events during the storm where they came to a point where they actually believed they would die, running down to the stern they find Jesus asleep on a cushion, not a care in the world. Angry and terrified, they say ” Teacher, dont you care if we drown?” To which Jesus gets up, reprimands this distraction of a storm that has overwhelmed his dearest friends, yelling “QUIET! BE STILL!” And there in that moment, like a dog being snapped out of disobedience from the command of his owners voice, in humility and submission, the storm retreats. As quickly as he instructed nature to be still, he looks at the men and says “Why are you so afraid? Do you STILL have no faith?” (Matthew 4:35-41)
I have so many questions about this situation. What were they supposed to do? Was Jesus setting them up to fail? Was he testing their faith? While I dont the answers to those questions, one thing is very clear. These men had almost unknowingly, switched out the source of what they put their faith in. The evidence of the switch is in their response to their circumstance. If their faith would have remained ed in Christ during the storm, I assume the response would have looked more like a child whos been abruptly woken in the night by the sound of thunder ripping apart the clouds, coming in to wake a parent for comfort, they jump under the covers drawing as close as possible whispering “I’m scared.” All the while knowing they are safe, even if the rain waters rise, their parent would have a plan.
Maybe jumping under Jesus’ blanket would not have happened, but a gentle waking followed by a “Jesus, wht should we do?”, would have been a response reflecting faith and trust in Christ, not one trusting in the anger of the storm, or what they’re imaginations feared would come out of the storm.
The accounts of this storm are clearly a reminder of how important it is that the source of our faith remain in Christ. Regardless of the storm, the daily ask remains:
Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?
Let us dwell on the truths of scripture as we gain full trust, faith, fearlessness, wisdom, discernment, during this storm.
Let us shift from fearful to faithful.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“
Isaiah 41: 10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.“