“The Wind and the Waves” Mark 4:35-41
The 5th Sunday after Pentecost (B) 6/24/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL
Lord do you not care that I am going through this horrendous experience? Do you not care that I am suffering, in pain or in anguish? Do you not care that I mourn the loss of a loved one? Do you not care that I see no way out of a particular situation? Do you not care that I am sinking in despair, “sinking and taking on water” much like that boat the disciples were on?
“Do you not care?” That is what the Twelve asked as they woke our Lord up from what clearly was a sound sleep. Really Peter? James, John… all of you? You are asking the very Son of God, God incarnate, God in the flesh, God with you, God right there with you in the same boat, He who is the Alpha and Omega… if He cares?
He who has shown you firsthand the length, depth, height of His divine love, His caring… and this, a thousand times over. Did you forget about all of those instances? All of those “proof positives” of His perfect love and perfect caring for you and others?
Yes, yes, they did. And so do we. We so easily forget all of the past times… all of the past ways that God’s providential hand, His strong arm has been there to hold us, help us, provide for us. All of this flies out the window when faced with the newest and the latest threat… the newest and latest and what we quickly dub the greatest issue we have ever faced.
Let’s be honest. It is so easy for one to panic even in the early stages of an oncoming storm. At the first sight of ominous clouds, dark and dangerous. At the first flash of lightning piercing the sky or the first crack of thunder. As the wind picks up and the waves get choppy. And then, for things to deteriorate from there.
You have no doubt heard of the “fight or flight” syndrome built into us all. It is for certain each and every one of us has experienced the same.
And we give thanks to God for how “fearfully and wonderfully made” we are… equipped as we are with automatic safeguards and response mechanisms. (Psalm 139:14)
Briefly explained, the fight or flight response comes about by the sympathetic nervous system in us releasing several key hormones in our bodies with the big three being adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol. They prompt us to take action… and quickly! To do what is needed for our wellbeing.
All of this was certainly at work in regard to the Twelve, but their options were limited as to fight or flight. Keep in mind that many of them, most of them, were seasoned fisherman. A little wind and waves were nothing… that is, until the waves started breaking over the boat, into the boat, and they were taking on water. They were sinking lower and lower in the water.
There was no fighting the storm. There was no fighting the wind or the waves. It was all too much.
And as for taking flight. All of them wanted out of the boat, but there was no getting off… out… out and away from this situation. They were stuck in it… on it. So… fleeing was out… or was it?
You see my friends, living in these sinful bodies of ours, we first and sometimes only think of fleeing FROM something in difficult matters when in reality it should be a case of our fleeing TO Someone… which is what the disciples end up doing. They go to their Lord and Master and, as if with one voice they exclaim, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38)
They knew differently, but that was blinded, obscured by fears of the moment. Fears and reactions which, so far, we have only considered from a psychological and physiological standpoint. Which is good to know, but it does not provide an answer… a solution. Not for the Twelve there on the boat… and not for us on whatever “boat” we find ourselves being tossed to and fro by the wind and waves of this life.
No. For them and for us… the answer is outside of us… beyond us… beyond any involvement on our part. The answer is Jesus Christ and He being, not as an afterthought, a last resort… when all else fails. The answer is Christ being with us. The answer is our faith in that… our faith in Him. The answer is our putting our full faith and trust in the Lord that He will see us through whatever we face whenever we face it in our lives here below… our lives here on earth.
You and I know all too well that it is not a matter of IF the storms come in your life or mine. Rather, it is WHEN they come. And they will. They do.
What else will come is fear… and this due to the frailty of body, mind and soul… this due to the sinful condition of every man, woman and child.
What is important is what you and I do with fear when it comes… when it strikes in our hearts and minds. It is all what we do by faith, by a living and rock-solid faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. A faith, not of our doing and not of our keeping. It is God’s gracious gift to us… bestowed to us, conferred upon us… through His Holy Word and the Blessed Sacraments. Faith created and sustained… divinely… here… right here in this place. Here… in Christ’s very Body, the Holy Christian Church.
I would call your attention to the fact that our Lord does not rebuke the Twelve for coming to Him. Not at all. The only rebuking is of the wind and waves to which He commands, “’Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” it says.
Our Lord simply asks the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” By this indicating that with Him… with the Lord near us, beside us, there is absolutely no need to fear… ANYTHING… EVER!
And that faith is the key… for you and me. With it… having faith… we are at peace. There is in us great calm regardless of what is happening around us and how dire things may appear to be.
Our faith in Christ Jesus… the One by Whom all things were created. Faith in Him who, yes, made the wind and the waves and by Whose power, majesty and might they are calmed, made still… and this, in His perfect time and perfect way.
Faith sees us through it all, my friends. So breathe! Be still. All is well. Christ is with us… His peace, upon us. Amen.