Storm Rider

The Great Storm of October 1987 is one that anyone who lived through it will remember for a long time.  Living in Manchester at the time, we did not bear the full brunt of it, but it was still scary and wild enough.

This was the result for one ferry:

Mark 4:35-41

A Storm

35 That evening, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the east side.” 36 So they left the crowd, and his disciples started across the lake with him in the boat. Some other boats followed along. 37 Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake. Waves started splashing into the boat, and it was about to sink.

38 Jesus was in the back of the boat with his head on a pillow, and he was asleep. His disciples woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re about to drown?”

39 Jesus got up and ordered the wind and the waves to be quiet. The wind stopped, and everything was calm.

40 Jesus asked his disciples, “Why were you afraid? Don’t you have any faith?”

41 Now they were more afraid than ever and said to each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

There is a popular misconception that if you become a Christian life will be wonderful.  All your worries and problems will be gone.  It only takes a quick look around to realise that is not true.  I’m sure we all know some wonderful people, who despite doing amazing, helpful, loving things, still have their fair share – if not more – of problems.
For becoming a Christian does not take you out of the world.  We still live in it, and part of human life is facing the challenges that come along.  If that sounds glib and simplistic, it is not meant to.  But being a Christian is not living separate from life, but living fully in it.
In this passage, the disciples were not saved from being in the storm because they had Jesus riding with them.  Storms happen.  What Jesus does say, is that they do not need to be afraid in the storm.  They had panicked that they were about to drown.  They were annoyed that Jesus was sleeping through it.  Anyone who’s ever struggled to sleep know that it is not an awareness of a situation that stops you sleeping, but worrying what you can do about it.  It wasn’t that Jesus didn’t know there was a storm, but that he wasn’t worried that they would drown that meant he was at peace.
It can be easy to be too simplistic, to sing along with the children’s song, “With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm”.  Storms are scary.  We would be strange if we smiled along through them, but with Jesus riding with us, we can avail ourselves of the peace he knows and brings to the situation.  He rides with us, not as a talisman to avert disaster, but as a real presence of God in and through it.
Lord
at times life is stormy and turbulent;
we are tossed about,scared,worried we will be overwhelmed.
Thank you
that whatever the turbulence of our life
you are there with us,right in the midst.
Thank you for your peace and your power,
may I know that presence
in the storms of my life,
that enable me to cling on to you
and know that you are with me

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