Posted by: pmarkrobb | July 20, 2014

no italics, no red

I’d like to back up a couple of days, if you’ll allow.  Back up to the four verses that were our daily reading for Saturday, the story of Jesus calming the storm.  As is my common practice, I sat down with a cup of coffee early in the morning, opened my iPad and navigated to the Journey onWord site.  I clicked on the reference for the day, and read the handful of verses in a couple different translations.  Like so much of what we’ve read this year in focusing on the words of Jesus, the story of Jesus calming the storm was very familiar.  And like so many other times this year, that morning I felt as if I was reading the story for the first time.

I sometimes “envy” the new Christian.  Reading and discovering things for the first time is so thrilling, and seems to fuel your desire for even more.  Over the past few years I have made a personal commitment to intentionally read the Bible as if with new eyes.  I read and re-read stories, laser-focused on each detail of the person, place or thing.  It’s amazing how many times I find myself surprised by what I read.  Details I was sure were in the story that simply weren’t there, and things I was sure people said but goodness if I could find them!  In our familiarity with scripture, it can be so easy to unintentionally add, subtract or confuse.

As I read the words of Jesus’ question to the disciples after He calmed the storm, it was as if I had misunderstood it my entire life, and it finally dawned on me what He was asking!  “Ohhhhhhh … that’s what He meant!”

Where is your faith?” he asked.  And for most of my life of faith, I assumed Jesus was making a statement in the form of a question.  It’s what we do when we’re trying to make a point, right?  Ask question that really isn’t a question.  I had assumed for all this time that Jesus was rebuking the disciples as He did the wind.  “Where was your faith when you needed it?” (note that I did not italicize those words, nor did I change their color to red.  “I guess your faith failed you, didn’t it?” (again, no italics, no red)

What I just figured out two days ago, was that Jesus was genuinely asking his closest followers in what, or in who was their faith?  For those who had spent their adult lives on the water, was their faith in their sailing skills or a sturdy boat?  Did they believe in themselves to weather the storm, and when they finally concluded they were powerless against the wind and the waves, they ran to Jesus?  But wait, isn’t that what He would have wanted them to do?

As my heart and mind were opened to real truth, I began to read backwards to see what else I might have missed or misunderstood.  It didn’t take long for me to see the disciples actions and words with new eyes as well.  These were not men that had tried to battle the storm, lost hope and went running to Jesus to save them.  These were His followers that tried to battle the storm, lost hope and went running to Jesus to tell Him they were all going to drown.  Impressive they would want to warn Him, but absolutely absent of any faith in Him to do anything about their dire condition.

Now, I’ll stop right here and emphatically insist that we must be quick to resist judging the disciples.  There are so many instances of “low hanging fruit” where we could sit in judgement of these men.  Walking along the road with Jesus (multiple times), having arguments over who is the best.  Asking if they could be the one to sit at Jesus’ right hand in heaven.  Trying to shield children from being brought to Jesus, and rebuking those who were bringing them.  Seriously, guys!  But before those words leave our lips, I hope the conviction of the Spirit stops us cold.  The disciples are us and we are them.

When you are in the midst of a violent storm in your life, who do you run to?  And if it’s Jesus, what do you say?  I know in my own life, there have been far too few times when I’ve run directly into His arms to simply seek shelter.  Far too few times I’ve simply spoken my fears and nestled into His embrace in full trust that He will save me from drowning and eventually calm the storm(s) with just the sound of His voice.  Where is my faith?  Where is your faith?

I find it so comforting that He calmed the storm first.  He didn’t lay in bed and ask them the question.  He didn’t require affirmation of their faith before acting to remove the danger.  Do we trust God that much?  Do we trust that there isn’t a “storm” too great that He is not Lord over it?  Can we run to Jesus and be content to simply ride out the storm below deck because He is there with us?

How did I miss this before?  Maybe it’s because sometimes I read or remember scripture with my own filter.  Maybe somewhere along my walk of faith I fell into Satan’s trap and began believing (even just a little) that God responds with sarcasm, disapproval or conditions when I try in my own power to battle the storms and fail.  “Where was your faith, Mark?” (no italics, no red).

I believe in this story He is saying to me, and to you, “Trust me.  I can be trusted.  No matter how powerful the winds and the waves are, no matter how desperate the situation seems … I can be trusted!”  Run to Him.  Trust Him.  There is no storm whose ear is deaf to the sound of His voice.

yeam_2014


Responses

  1. Where is my faith? Not, is it present, but rather in what/who is it placed? I like that. Thanks! Thank You, God – Father, Son, Spirit – for being so passionate about where my faith is! For my sake! For my good! For my joy! For my peace! Knowing You alone are the source and presence/existence of good and joy and peace! 🙂


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