A Year in Questions (3)

Anyone who knows me, knows about my fear of reptiles. Shoot, thanks to social media, even those who do not know me personally know of my fear of "baby dragons" and snakes. I'm not overly thrilled with alligators either.

Fear is a terrible thing. It creates boogie men where there are none. It puts a demon behind every tree and around every corner. It keeps us from enjoying life.

And it is NOT of the Lord. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind, James wrote. (1:7).

Fortunately for me, I am not alone. Even those who walked with the Lord 24/7 found themselves afraid. (Call me #13.)

Rembrandt c. 1633, The Storm on the Sea of Galilee

Here's the situation: Jesus had had a long day of preaching ... healing ... arguing with the religiously pious ... and, I suppose, He was pooped. So He ordered "The Boys" to get in the boat and cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.

And so they did. They got a boat, they got in, and the pushed out into the "sea."

One thing many fail to realize is that other "little boats" were out in that massive lake with them. So, even though Jesus had made an attempt to "get away from it/them all," it/they followed Him.

But He, exhausted, paid no mind to the attention. Instead, He fell asleep in the stern of the boat ... He even had a pillow, which I find to be pretty cute, I have to tell you. Jesus slept on a pillow ... Instead of a "My Pillow," which is what I sleep on, Jesus slept on a "His Pillow."

And then it happened. A storm came up--something not untypical for the Sea of Galilee because of the way it more or less sits in a "bowl," with the Galilean hills surrounding it. The wind comes in, gets caught between the land and the water, begins to swirl, and whoosh! We have ourselves a massive storm. In fact, the Greek word is anemos, which means "a violent stream of air, tempestuous." These were not just a few waves lapping at the side of the vessel; this was water slapping itself up and over and into the boat.

The men became afraid ... and I can imagine those in the "little boats" were pretty hysterical too.

Someone finally woke Jesus, who calmly wiped the sleep from his eyes, tucked His pillow under his arm, and said, "Siōpaō."

Or, in our language, "Hush." (Which leaves me to wonder who, exactly, He said this to. Was He speaking to the disciples and the wind and waves had to obey, too? Or to the wind and waves and the disciples followed suit?)

Then He said, "Kopazō" or: "Be still." (Both of the words you just read were the Greek interpretation of His words, most likely spoken in Aramaic.)

Then came the questions Jesus asked of the disciples ... and Jesus asks of me: "Why were you so afraid? How is it that you have no faith?"

All kidding aside on the whole lizard/snake thing ... I have fears that are deep-seated. Things from my past often rise up to haunt me, things I thought I'd long put to rest (such as a fear of the dark).

In my ministry, I have spoken with women (and sometimes men, but not on a ministerial level) whose phobias range from a fear of losing a loved one to a fear of falling back into old sinful patterns. Sometimes I hear of a fear of having to make a life-changing decision--so much so, that instead of doing something positive, they stay with the old rather than taking a chance on the new. There are, of course, countless phobias (fear of the outside, fear of people, fear of not being able to get out of a building, fear of water, fear of heights, etc.), including fear of reptiles.

But what I think Jesus is asking here is not about such things. He is getting to the depth of what makes us tick ... and sick. "How can you be so afraid when you have the Creator of all right here in the boat?"

The men thought they were perishing! But no! They were only getting a little (okay, a lot) wet. That's all. They looked outside of the boat where the wind and waves grew, rather than inside the boat where the One who created the wind and waves slept without concern ... and on a pillow.

So, here is His question for you: What are you afraid of? How is it you still have no faith?" (Ref: Mark 4:40) You don't have to answer here (you can, but you don't have to), but I do hope you will explore this with God. Journal. Ponder. Pray.

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