Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – October 1, 2020
When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea while Jesus was alone on the shore. Then he saw them being battered as they rowed, because the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night, he came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought that it was a ghost and cried out. They all saw him and were troubled, but immediately, Jesus spoke with them and said, “Rejoice! It is I! Do not be afraid!” Mark 6:47-50 (NRSV)
Do you feel battered and beaten by the stormy winds of this year? For many of us, the hopes of the pandemic being a short disruption to our normal lives has given way to a prolonged season of weariness, anxiety, and exhaustion. Long gone are the early days of Spring in which we all decided to take on a new hobby or learn a new language. I haven’t heard people talk about baking bread for months! Instead, as I read these words today from Mark 6, I find my heart greatly aligned with this story. Even the simplest of things now present a challenge and threaten to steal our joy and trust in the goodness of God.
The winds are undoubtedly against us. And when this is the case, it is incredibly easy for us to forget an even greater truth: our Lord Jesus is for us. He is with us in the storm, strong when we are weak, clear eyed when all is shrouded by cloud. And yet, this passage teaches us something remarkable about our relationship to Christ in the midst of a storm. Jesus longs for us to cry out to him! In fact, we are told that he “would have passed them by” had they not called out in their desperation. For me, this raises a profoundly significant question: do you and I cry out to God in prayer when the winds are against us?
As I reflect upon this past year, as well as other seasons of uncertainty or challenge, I realize that much of what I might call “prayer” has very little to do with a true conversation with God. What do I mean by this? We must realize that prayer is not the same as anxious thinking! Yet it is incredibly easy to sit with our thoughts, fears, and failures and not actually turn our hearts and minds to the Lord in prayer. We must truly acknowledge the challenge of our situation and our inability to see a way through, yet we must also take heart and with great hope turn to Jesus and say “Lord, have mercy!” As we do, may we hear his words spoken to us afresh. “Rejoice! It is I! Do not be afraid!”
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isaiah 43:1-2 NRSV).
Father, teach us to pray and trust in you and not be overcome by doubt or worry, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Does your prayer life look like a genuine conversation with Jesus or are you easily lost in your own thoughts and fears?
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