Monday, September 22, 2008

The Answer, My friend, is Blowin' in the Wind.....or after?

I live on the west side of Galveston Bay. Over the last couple of weeks, I haven't been able to write anything because of the lack of power in this area. When the lights finally came on, I was faced with the inevitable question, "Do I need to write a blog about Hurricane Ike?" My answer? I guess I don't have any choice. But what to write? How does this storm, that effected my area so drastically, fit into the realm of theology? How does not having power for a week inspire me to write something worthy of adding to my blog? What kind of deep philosophical perspective can I put on the natural phenomenon of hurricanes and how they tie into life, faith and spirituality? Well, I'm still thinking.

But, as with all storms, the wind stopped. The waters receded. And the power remained off. So as I sat in the calm quiet of darkness, the one thing that became very clear to me is this: God is very powerful. Too simplistic? Maybe. Too obvious? Maybe not. You see, I think that in our high-tech and complex world, we sometimes forget this very simple fact. God is very powerful. And as I pondered over this, I thought of the story of Jesus calming the storm in Matthew 8. Most of us have read, or heard, this story many times, and our first inclination is to interpret this passage as a comforting illustration that Christ "calms" the "storms" of life. But is this really what God is trying to say to us? Don't get me wrong, Jesus does calm the storms of our lives and this is a perfectly good passage of scripture to use in getting this point across. But is this what Matthew was really intending as he wrote these words? I don't think so.

Look at it from this perspective. What is the disciple's first reaction to Jesus calming the storm? They were amazed and asked, "What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" Think about it. They didn't cheer in excitement that the storm had stopped. They didn't release a concerted sigh of relief, realizing that their lives were sparred. They didn't fall to the floor of the boat, praising God that they would live another day. They were no longer focused on themselves and the storm. They were focused on Christ.

You see, the disciples attention turned from the power of the storm to the power of this man that just told the wind and waves to shut up! Their attention was diverted and that is what I think God is trying to get across to us in this story. Sure, God calms the storms of our lives, but more importantly, He is more powerful than the storms we face. He is above and beyond any storm we find ourselves in; figurative or literal. As Jesus spent more time with these twelve men, He revealed more about who He was. As He chopped away at their preconceptions, he opened their eyes to reality in it's fullest. God is very powerful. Sometimes it takes a storm for us to realize this. And sometimes it takes the calm.

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