By the word of the Lord the heavens were made…For he spoke and it came to be. – Psalm 33:6
It is beyond my imagination, but by faith I believe (for no one was present to witness – Hebrews 11:1-3. God created by his word- For he spoke and it came to be. But the one who has captured my imagination is C S Lewis in, The Magicians Nephew; his description of the creation of Narnia through the word spoken by Aslan. “In the darkness, a voice began to sing. Its low notes were deep enough to be the voice of the earth herself. There were no words. There was hardly even a tune. But it was beyond comparison, the most beautiful noise (Digory) had ever heard……” Lewis takes you on a most imaginative trip as if you were present as Narnia was spoken into existence. Take time to read the language of creation in Psalm 19:1-6.
As Jesus was, In the beginning speaking creation into existence (John 1:1) so we take an excursion from Gen 1 to Luke 8:22-25. Jesus is on the lake and in a boat with his disciples. At his instigation, he says, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” As they set sail, Jesus went to sleep in the stern, on a cushion (Mark 4:35-41). A storm arises, so strong, the boat was being swamped and the disciples feared great danger. Danger to the point of being distressed that they woke Jesus from sleep and exclaiming, “We’re going to drown!” and Mark adds, “Don’t you care if we drown?” Jesus wakes from sleep. The disciples are incredibly afraid and beside themselves. Jesus calmly responds to the fear and spoke a word to the wind and the waves and all became calm. In the beginning, Jesus spoke creation into being when no one was yet present. Now, in the company of the disciples, Jesus spoke to the creation and it obeyed. It doesn’t take a lot of imagination to step into the disciple’s shoes, “They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” and as Luke adds, “He commands even the winds and the water..”
The contrast between Jesus and the disciples is clear. Jesus could sleep because he was not afraid. Understandably and self-identifying, for the disciples, it was a very fearful and life-threatening situation ripe to draw out how one might respond when in a crisis. We may note that we all don’t respond to the same situation in the same ways. Some remain calmer. But surely everyone has fears and responses to such fears in times of danger and threats (whether perceived or real).
The response from Jesus serves a purpose for us all. “Why are you so afraid?” may seem strange because there were firm grounds to be afraid especially as all the disciples were in the same boat (no pun intended). Fear is an attribute we all share and fear first came as a consequence of the Fall, “….the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” – Genesis 3:9-10
So from fear to ‘hide’ from God and face all life fears alone and in dependence on others with limited powers and systems created by Man to God in Christ calling and reaching out to us, “Why are you afraid?” you don’t need to be afraid. The crunch comes when Jesus says, “Do you still have no faith?” “Where is your faith?”
So here is the point: God who spoke creation into existence in the past tense, is the same God who spoke to the creation and it obeyed- such a word to us today is a demonstration of who really is in control of past, present, and future. It is also an invitation that in Christ, we no longer need to hide from God but come to him. The cross is the means by which all fears find a context to be allayed- even death “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…” – Psalm 23.
The storms and associated fears of life will always be with us but it is what to do and who to turn to in their midst. A good question as if Jesus were asking, “Why are you afraid?” and, “Where is your faith (in Christ and all God’s promises)”
Some old cycling friends were in the habit of thanking me whenever the weather was just right on a cycle ride. Then again, (in jest but something more they acknowledged me being a Christian!) when the weather was foul, someone would quip, ‘you could have done a better job with the weather’ As if! None of us can command the weather nor expect the wind to always be at our back and no calamity befalls us. We are all in the world together (We are all in this together- sound familiar?) but the difference is who stands with us and for us with a firm and sure hand. Jesus Christ is indeed most worthy to proclaim and rest in as Saviour and Lord of all. “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
In times present and times future, all our fears both perceived and real, Christ is for us and what’s left to us is to know and exercise faith to believe and trust. How might this move you to prayer and thanksgiving today?
HYMN: I am trusting thee to guide me; thou alone shalt lead, Every day and hour supplying all my need. – by The Hymn Singers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5VJpoZNZrc