I love the ocean; not so much being in the water because I cannot see my feet and that creeps me out, but I love watching the ocean. The ocean has a rhythm about it that I find incredibly peaceful. For all of its power and vastness it is not without limits or containment, and maybe that is why I love it so. For all of its steadiness and potential uncertainty, there is a greater force that holds it together, that keeps it in control, that’s power and vastness is unimaginably greater than the ocean’s reflection of it.
Our family has been in an ocean season; not the nice watching the ocean season, but the exhausting season of trying to stay afloat in the water season. Wave after wave of illnesses, challenging circumstances, and trying relationships have left me feeling worn out, soaking wet and water logged. My eyes have felt the sting of salty tears as I rock my little one to an elusive sleep. His little body rocked by a ragged, painful cough as drainage chokes his airways and causes him to vomit. His cries hoarse and broken, as though shards of glass line his throat. I have clinched my fists in anger as exhaustion weighs heavy in my bones, the air in my home hangs thick and stale, and my own immune system wages a losing battle. I have raged at God; a God who is supposed to love my kid more than I do, who could heal him, us, and yet has not. A God who has moved me from the home, community, and city that I so loved to a new and lonely place. Cognitively, I am fully aware that there are those around us whose loss, illness, and stormy circumstances greatly exceed our own and I should be thankful rather than filled with complaint. Emotionally, I am just desperate for a break in the waves. If I could just catch my breath. If I could just sleep…If I could just…
In the fourth chapter of Mark, Jesus opens by sharing the parable of the sower and then explaining it further on in the chapter to His disciples. He explains that the seed sown on rocky soil is like the one who receives the Word with great joy, but “they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while, then, when tribulation, or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. (v17)” Jesus goes on to share other parables before closing out His day of ministry. His disciples take Jesus into a boat, “just as he was” and head to the other side of the lake. While Jesus is asleep, a storm arises that threatens to sink their boat. The disciples awake Him and ask Him if He even cares that they are about to die. Jesus gets up, calms the stormy seas with a word from His mouth, and then turns to His disciples in a loving rebuke: “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”
The disciples just had a rocky soil moment that gives me a lot of hope for my own faith. They were not sure of who Jesus was entirely, nor did they know who they were in Him and to Him entirely, and in the face of stormy waves they had no root of faith to ground them. They took Jesus into the boat with them “just as He was” but when He did not operate or act as they felt He should, they questioned His character, power and loving care for Him. They only allowed Him to be who He was to the extent that He lived up to their expectations.
If I am to let Jesus into my life “just as He is” then I have to let Him be God as He sees fit. I have to plunge my roots deep down into the fertile truth of His word. I have to trust His character and care for me even when He does not operate in the ways I want Him to or feel He should. I have to trust that He knows how to be God far better than I ever could, because He sees the end from the beginning and holds all things together. I have to trust that His priorities, His goals for my life, for the lives of my loved ones, are far better than my own; when they do not align, I have to be quick to submit mine under His. I have to trust that, while He does not cause the storms in my life, neither does He waste them from accomplishing Kingdom goals in my heart.
May we bring all of the raw honesty and emotion before His throne of grace this week, and then let Him be God.