Greetings in Christ!
In this week’s Gospel reading, we find Jesus asleep in the boat as his disciples fear the sudden squall will capsize their boat. We find the disciples doubting not only Jesus’ power to control the situation, but his concern at their plight. We find Jesus calming the storm and questioning their doubt.
But perhaps the most surprising discovery is that the disciples don’t respond with thanks. Some translations of the Bible suggest the disciples were “awed,” but this doesn’t capture the sense of anxiety the disciples felt. Others say they were “terrified” or even “feared exceedingly,” but to our ears this sounds too akin to a Hitchcock movie. Perhaps the right word is dumbfounded. So surprised that they doubted. So shocked that unease sets in alongside joy. Awe wrapped up with a fear of the unknown, that this Jesus who they know and love apparently has power over all creation.
What strikes me today about this passage is this: When we ask something of Jesus, the response may just dumbfound us. We ask God for deliverance even as we doubt whether God has the care or ability to actually deliver us. Yet, would God be in the boat if God didn’t care? Would God sleep and allow us to pilot the boat if any true danger were at hand?
We’re dumbfounded because of our doubt, even though Jesus walks alongside us and endures the storms of our lives. Fortunately, Jesus also carries us through the storms, stilling them with a word of promise and a presence of peace. God’s grace is wide enough to handle not only the storms of our lives, but also the doubt of our questions. In all things, God calms the storms and guides us graciously to safety.
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