“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Mark 4:37-38 (NIV)
The theme for these devotions is “This is Our Purpose in Uncertain Times”. When I began to write I was concentrated on COVID19. Now we have merged with the racial tensions and struggles. Emotionally we as a nation are on overdrive. We are in Uncertain Times that change quickly.
It is hard to watch the news (if that is what you call it these days), and not be emotionally agitated. Of course, this is what the media is designed to do. They have college educated professionals who know how to agitate with images, video, and commentary. They are making their parent’s proud with the money spent on their education. Add in the election year drama and we have an emotional mess on our hands. Serious issues like race, health, abortion, and foreign policy are being forgotten or super charged with a “bandwagon” mentality that is causing people to choose sides instead of choose truth.
The danger of emotions is that they are often not attached to truth. So instead of responding in resolved confidence that is weighted in a measured tone and understanding, we are reacting with emotionally charged Facebook posts, Tweets or Instagram whatever you call it and we fuel the chaotic conversation. A loud conversation at that.
Emotions are not bad. God gave them to us for a reason. Think about what it would be like without emotions. Those drive by birthday parties during COVID would have been a dud. Our emotions are indicators that something is going on that has our attention. Take for example our text. The disciples (followers of Jesus) are on a boat and a storm suddenly comes up. Some commentaries call it a violent agitation. That is a good analogy for what we are facing today for sure. The pounding rain, loud thunder and flashes of lightning are causing an emotional response of fear and panic in the disciples.
When you read the story in Mark 4, we see the emotionally charged reaction by the disciples waking Jesus with the question, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” The Living Bible says, “Frantically they wakened him...” They were freaking out! If they had social media, their accounts would be blowing up. Pictures of the wind and waves and a selfie with the slacker Jesus asleep. The disciples did not get a passing grade. Your social media says a lot about how you respond to storms.
The storm our nation faces today is real and so is our response as believers. This violent agitation is causing a lot of accusations resulting in a loud squall. The boat is filling up with water fast and the wind isn’t helping either. From the images on our screens and from the so-called reporting from journalist on the scenes, rioting, looting and violence seem to be the only response getting the attention rather than the real storms at hand. This stirs more anger on both sides. Again, designed by the storm makers – media. How does it work?
On one side, good people join the “woke” groups and allow their emotions to navigate their reactions. As a result, they do and say hurtful things. These destructive behaviors have not helped the community, the store owners and the problem that needs to be solved. On the other side, these reports and images of these destructive behaviors stir up more anger towards those who are doing the destruction. Good people sit back, watch their screens full of chaos, say hurtful things and judge people they do not know. Critical conversation gets toxic. This is exactly the way Satan has designed it. Both sides rooted in their bias, not willing to listen and no real solutions come to the table. It is a picture of a boat that is sinking in a storm. So where is Jesus? Great question!
Jesus is asleep. Well not really but in our text He is. That doesn’t mean he was unaware or not present. He was at rest. Peace was present in the midst of the storm. The reason why the enemy wants you to react with emotion is because emotions are not generally deep. But truth is always deep. When Jesus was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well, He didn’t stay on the surface in that conversation (John 4). He drew from a deep well in her heart. About five husbands deep. This could have caused an emotional mess, but instead it revealed truth and it is truth that sets us free and puts us at peace. Jesus demonstrated to us what truth does when we allow it to navigate our storms.
Mark 4:39 “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
Quiet. Still. Calm. The best places to respond from. I believe we need to take time to prayerfully allow truth to quiet our soul. As believers, we need truth to lead, not emotion. We need to go to Jesus and His Word. There He can quiet the biggest storm – our minds. The disciples were in awe of what Christ did when we woke rested and reliant upon the Father. Today, stop getting caught up in the squall of the news cycle of our nation. Step away, go to Jesus and watch His truth quiet your heart and mind. Then and only then will you have something meaningful to say.