God is with us

* It is Youth Sunday at New Liberty UMC, so I figured I'd comment on the gospel text devotionally. ??Have a wonderful Sunday Service! ???WRM

Mark 4.35-41

35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side."
36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.
37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.
38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?"
39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still!" And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40 He said to them, "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"
41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

Don't you just love this story?! ??It's fascinating to think about. ??They're on the water, a violent storm comes through, everyone is terrified, and Jesus…is…asleep. ??It's almost comical. ??Then Jesus arouses, rebukes the chaos, and all is well. ??What goes through your head when you read this? ??I invite you to take a minute and explore the different things that come to you when you think about the story's meaning in your own life.

{ { look away from the screen and take a moment to think about what this story means to you } }

A couple of things came to my mind. ??I thought about how it is that Jesus could sleep in such a time as this. ??I think about how Jesus has power over the wind and the waves. ??I even think about how he has such great power but still lets such frightening things happen. ??Just some honest thoughts. ??But the one thing that weighs heavier on my mind is how so many of us have times when we wish Christ would calm the winds and the waves of our lives. ??We all have times when the storms of life pound against us, violently rocking our day-to-day and causing us to cry out to God, wondering why he could sleep or feel so distant while all this goes on. ??Ironically, though???or maybe providentially???God IS there. ??

We tend to forget that God is with us, in the midst of our pain and suffering, in the very boat that we are afraid will sink or capsize. ??In times of loneliness, we accuse God of the most horrible things, ever-failing to understand that God was never more than a poke or breath away. ??This scripture is really about presence. ??Some will talk about faith, some will talk about fright, but really this is about presence. ??To recognize and to seek to understand God's presence is the key to the lesser matters of having enough faith or not being afriad. ??The presence of God is a powerful and steadfast ally. ??If we fail to understand that, then having more faith or having less fear won't mean as much.

Begin each day, each moment, seeking to understand that God is with you. ??It's what Emmauel means, "God is with us," the name used to describe Jesus and his divinity at his birth. ??If we understand God's presence, then faith becomes alive and firm, and fear becomes a temptation that walks away defeated.

God is with us.

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