I was perusing the social media during this global pandemic (didn’t anticipate writing these words last year at this time), when I came across a You Tube of a supermodel at the top of a skyscraper (under construction) standing on the steel girders with her photographer. I almost immediately closed it as the panic began to overwhelm my chest. But sitting in my lazy boy chair, I decided to “gut” it out.
You see… I have a fear of heights, coupled with…you guessed it…a fear of falling from those fear-filled heights.
So back to me being brave in my recliner and gutting it out. I continued to watch their video documentation of various “poses” struck in high heels and a designer dress. If I almost lost it internally when she leaned off the girder while holding the hand of her handler; imagine the gripping fear when she stepped off dangling in mid air employing only the wrist to wrist hand hold method. It was too much visual for me…I couldn’t manage that much fear even from the safety of my lazy boy. Proof text found in the grip depressions of my chair’s leather arm rest.
Fear is the anticipation of losing control. It is the knowledge of what COULD happen, based on empirical evidence of what has happened. We examine the voracity of the potential and our ability to control it. We then react.
The Covid 19 Pandemic, we find ourselves unwitting partners in, represents a global-based reality that most of us have Never experienced; or even imagined its potential consequence! We are thrust into uncharted territory without clear answers and solutions and amidst a developed lack of trust in who we can believe and look to for truth and leadership in this storm.
I take my mind’s eye to the hull of a boat, of all places in the Sea of Galilee. I am holding on to an eyelet anchored in the side of the boat as the boat is tossed nearly vertical and then waves hit my face and fill the boat with the sea water as it comes back down.
Others are in the boat, several fishermen with years of experience on the sea under various conditions. This fact should fill me with a measure of confidence as I watch through salt-stung eyes as two are desperately attempting to manage the oars to bring us under control. Braver and stronger than I am, they wrestle with the boat, the waves, and their own wavering faith in their potential…but continue striving.
But even as I take a measure of comfort in their power in the midst of this unprecedented storm…I see and feel their fear and hear their screams of desperation. I lose all hope…first in my mind, then it grips my heart. I am at the mercy of the wind and the waves, and as they tear at my body and bruise my face…I succumb to total fear.
Most of us can remember a time we felt the profound loss of control and paralyzing fear. Some of us manage it better than others, depending our level of experience and perspective. The experience of loss is the constant reminder that we are mere mortals, after all.
Loss of a job with no prospects in sight. Death of a friend or loved one. A dreaded, then realized crippling disease or life-ending cancer. A pandemic. A virus that Advil doesn’t cure. Dangling from the girder 50 stories high, with only a wrist-to-wrist hold on someone we don’t know their capacity to save us from peril. I’m 230 pounds… my immediate reality is that the one standing on the ledge is going to save themselves. And the quickest way to do that is to release me. And that thought makes me lose all sense of control.
Back to the boat. I see another man at the front of boat… curled up asleep. Peaceful even. I rub my stinging eyes as another wave nearly washes me over. The other sea worn fishermen are screaming his name and, wait, their trying to wake him up to help them as they fight for control.
They shout this man’s name again, “Jesus! Don’t you care that we are in peril! We are perishing in this wave surging sea! Wake up, Jesus!
“And on that day, when evening was come, He saith unto them, Let us go over unto the other side. And leaving the multitude, they take Him with them, even as He was, in the boat. And other boats were with Him. And there ariseth a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling. And He Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion: and they awake Him, and say unto Him, Master, carest Thou not that we perish? And He awoke, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And He said unto them, Why are ye fearful? have ye not yet faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him? MARK 4:35-41 (R.V.)
Many of us, in the storm, have forgotten who Jesus is. We see his humanity, as he sleeps in the boat, riding out the same waves as are slamming into our face. We find ourselves hopeless. Some of us in the boat have never experienced His Deity and the grace manifested through salvation. And so we are fearful.
And some of us know what He can do as the Creator and King of Kings…the one of whom death holds no sting! We cry out, “ Don’t you care that we are perishing! Jesus! Wake up! Save us!” We question in the midst of the storm.
No matter what our view is, Jesus woke up in that boat and He spoke peace upon that storm and calmed the sea. His humanity shows he feels our fears and the stinging eyes from the waves. His Diety proves He is in control as He speaks a word and the world spinning out of control becomes peaceful.
Jesus is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for…and the EVIDENCE of things not seen. It requires FAITH in the One sleeping calmly in the boat, who is capable of controlling the wind and the waves.
Get to know the man Jesus and know that he is God. Trust Him. And your faith will strengthen and your ability to be peaceful will be clear!