Today's blog is part of a two part series. If you missed yesterday's, read it here before you continue:
A storm is a pretty obvious metaphor. If I was writing this story or seeing it in a show, I might even roll my eyes a little. “Really, a storm? Could we be more on the nose about it?”
But storms happen. There isn’t a life on this earth that’s going to escape them. I believe what this story is asking is: how do we deal with them?
If you’re anything like me, and unfortunately you probably are, when problems arise I do one of two things.
Accept the situation and then suppress any emotions that might arise.
The person on the boat, the person whose shoes I was trying to fill this Sunday morning, did the later. He and everyone else tried to deal with the storm head on. They manned the torpedoes or battened down the hatches or boarded up the windows. I’m not really a boat person, I don’t know what they do Nothing, however, seemed to work. So what do we do when our human powers fail us? We freak out even more. “We’re all gonna die!” That was the general consensus of everyone involved. And why wouldn’t they think that? The waves were crashing over the side. The boat was rocking back and forth. The rain. I can’t even imagine the rain pelting these people. The lightning crashing all around.
I thought about that for a while. Because while this story might be a metaphor, the storms we face are real, and sometimes they’re deadly. In the face of them, we are overcome with doubt. Of course we are. I was overcome by doubt just yesterday. I was sitting on my couch and all of a sudden I lost all faith that I could beat what I have back. I tried to remember that it was only my ego trying to separate me from the present moment but sometimes my ego is really freaking loud. Like the waves crashing over the boat.
And what was Jesus doing that whole time? He was asleep inside the boat.
One thing we can say for sure about Jesus- he did not have insomnia.
During this violent, loud, furious storm, he was fast asleep.
I thought about how I would react in this situation. If I was trying as hard as I could to save the boat, and someone was down below sleeping. I would be furious. I would be outraged. Which is exactly how they felt in the story. “Don’t you care if we drown?” That’s what the men on the ship said. Which is exactly what I would have said, only with way more fucks.
After Jesus has a chance to wipe the sleep from his eyes, to stand up and take a yawn and have stretch, he goes upstairs and says, “Quiet. Be still.” And the waves died down. “Why are you so afraid?” This is what he asked the guys. “Do you still have no faith?”
That’s the moment a new thought hit me. Yes the story is meant to illustrate the power of God and the limitations of mankind. Yes it’s meant to admonish us for worrying all the time. But what if the ship was a metaphor for our bodies. And when bad things happen, we try and fight that bad thing off. We fret and we worry and we focus our attention outward. We do all those things, when the answer, when the peace we’re looking for, is inside us this whole time.
I don’t pretend to know what that insight means. But it’s been interesting to chew on these past few days. The problem is without. But the answer is within.
It’s been there, fast asleep, this entire time.
Thank you so much for reading. If you enjoyed it please share with your friends. Tickets to STAGES at Furman University are on sale now. June 21-June 30. For more information go to davidleenelson.com/stages