Hang On To That Boat!

Here is how Eugene Peterson tells a story about Jesus  from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 4:

Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.”  They took him in the boat as he was.  Other boats came along. A huge storm came up.  Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it.  And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping!They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?”

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath, the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?”

They were in absolute awe, staggered.  “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”

The way to find peace is to follow Jesus.  I have been told that during the time of Jesus, fishermen were encouraged not to learn how to swim.  Why wouldn’t you want a fisherman to know how to swim? They are out in the water all day. Wouldn’t you want that to be a requirement? We might not agree, but their answer was “no.” Not learning to swim was considered a survival skill. The reason was this. If someone knew how to swim and a storm came up, they might try to make it on their own. But if they didn’t know how to swim, they would hang on to the boat. And then there was a good chance they would be rescued. (They would also not lose the boat.) They were encouraged to stay with the boat.

This life of faith is not always easy.  It means speaking when we’d rather be quiet.  It means listening when we’d rather talk.  It means forgiving those who hurt us.  Hanging on the boat means living our lives in such a way that faith is at the center.

Hang on because Jesus is in the boat with us. And he will calm the storms, the big ones, the ones inside of us. He is the only one who can do it. Jesus will calm the storms of fear, depression, anger, loneliness, boredom.  How did Jesus still the storm? He told it to be quiet. We need to be quiet. I have learned that when there is a storm inside of me, I should not speak. It only feeds the storm. Our thoughts, our words, our actions, can all be controlled. Set aside angry words, angry deeds, angry deeds and focus, instead, on Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life of peace.

I am convinced that everybody is just going into a storm or just coming out of one. We can’t stop the storms of life. But, we can find peace. Stay in the boat. Hang on to Jesus.