On that day, when evening had come, Jesus 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?” – Mark 4:35-41
I’m ready! How about you? Political bitterness and back-biting, mud-slinging and fear-mongering. Racial tensions. Police controversies. COVID-19. Wildfires. Enough! Peace! Be still! Oh how I wish I had that power, or maybe not. Oh how I wish Jesus would do his thing in our times. We need you Jesus! Don’t you care if we perish?!?
Let’s be careful here. The one who calmed the storm at sea, did not prevent Pilate from killing a number of religious/political protesters, or stop the tower at Siloam from falling on another group of people (cf. Luke 13:1-5). The same One who stilled the waves did not still every storm at sea. Plenty of people have died while yearning for Jesus’ direct intervention in their lives.
Jesus’ miracles are a sign. They have a meaning beyond the event itself. The water turned to wine was a blessing to the people at the wedding feast. The calm waters and still winds were a relief to the disciples. But in each case the miracle pointed to the One who did it. John tells us that Jesus’ first miracle (water into wine) was a revelation of Jesus’ glory, and that his disciples put their faith in him. The disciples marvel at Jesus’ storm-stopping intervention.
Jesus is someone to be reckoned with. He’s not a lucky rabbit’s foot. He’s not a get-out-of-death-free card. He gives no pass to even his closest followers when it comes to the troubles of this world.
But he can. He can and does intervene from time to time. In those moments when the reality of his mighty power and his loving kindness becomes evident we are moved to praise God and thank him for his mercies. But when he doesn’t come to save the day we must not give up and despair of his goodness.
I still wish for God’s intervention in the affairs of this world. I pray for an end to the novel coronavirus. I wish there would be peace between the races and I’ll pray for it and do all I can to bring it about. I yearn for rains to douse the fires in the western United States. I wish there were no bad cops. I wish the protesters would respect the rule of law.
I pray for all these things. But I keep my eyes and heart fixed on Jesus, the author and completion of faith. He experienced the most grave and darkest moments for you and me. He did it to redeem us, and with an eye on the future glory that will be ours in the life of the world to come.
Jesus cares about our eternal wellbeing, and has done all that is needed to give us eternal peace.