Jesus and Friends in a Boat

I am reading the book Rediscovering Life, by Anthony DeMello. His message is great but it is actually a writing of a presentation he once gave on a satellite retreat. I don’t think the spoken word transposes well into the written but I am trudging through it because it is this month’s selection for my spirituality book club. This morning I read something I thought was really helpful. DeMello suggests that the events of our lives are never the cause of our inner condition, that is, the contentment or stress we are feeling. I think I believe what he is saying as I realize that one person’s trauma can send them into a depression or angry rage while a very similar or worse trauma for another person can cause very little inner turmoil. This is what I got out of the reading this morning.

Later I open the Bible to see what might pop up for me to read and there is the story Mark tells of Jesus in a boat on a lake with his disciples when a storm happens along. Jesus is napping, totally unaffected by the storm or the increasing agitation of his boat mates. Finally they wake him up. “Don’t you care that we are about to die?”  You know what comes next. Jesus calmed the storm and the storm raging inside the disciples also was calmed. Jesus says, “Why are you frightened? Do you still have no faith?” No faith? What is Jesus talking about? What does the faith look like that he thinks the disciples have none of?

Jesus, it appears, had an amazing ability to not have his inner peace rattled by whatever was going on outside himself. Storm or no storm, he was able to sleep. I don’t think his lack of fear was because he knew he had power over the weather. I think it was because he totally trusted the One who created weather. He trusted the One to whom he’d given all of his life no matter what. This is what Jesus wanted for his disciples. He calmed the storm because he knew they were not at that place where they could trust God “no matter what”. He changed the circumstances to calm their inner turmoil. But clearly, he had hope for them. “You don’t have that kind of faith yet,” his words imply. “But you will.” And when that time comes, God will not have to calm the storms of life. They will be able to find the calm inside their own hearts like the calm in the center of a hurricane.

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