• Sam D-H

Order in Chaos: How not to drown

(Mark 4:35-41)

"That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion.

The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”


Genesis 1

In the beginning there was God, and the Spirit of God hovered over the waters. Waters are an ancient symbol of chaos. God reigned over it, brooded over it. Then he speaks, and what he speaks happens. He places boundaries on time, on water and in creation itself. He speaks order into chaos. The result is life.

Covid life

Covid has felt like the waters of chaos rose up again. Like we were living through some Noah-esq global flood event. I don’t particularly go in for labels, especially victim ones, but many are suggesting that we are now suffering from global collective trauma.

Covid has changed the way we live. Some of us will be reading this feeling angry about it. Others sad. Some, robbed and cheated. It perhaps allowed some of us to take stock and slow down. However for many of us ‘slowing down’ was just doing the same jobs in a confined space.

Covid has also affected the way we hold things, everything is light touch, covered in perhaps and maybe. This has made us a lot more situational in the way we approach things. “It’d be great if that happens, I’ll be happy if that goes ahead.” Then it doesn’t... sadness, disappointment, struggle. Our mood becomes entangled with the day.

And yet, I wonder if we need to push back?

In the boat

I was having a morning quiet time a few weeks back and I noticed this pattern in myself. How things are in life, is how I am inside. Then as I waited, the Holy Spirit led me to this story in the bible (Mark 4:35-41). I had a picture of myself in the boat. Hands gripping the side, holding on for dear life, staring into the raging eye of the on-coming storm. This posture was making me so weary. It’s so tiring to hold on and fighting against the storm.

Surely that’s how the disciples were feeling that night in the boat? The waves were crashing down. It looks like chaos is winning. This is going to be the end of them, or at least that’s how it feels.

Then Jesus, asleep in the back of the boat, is woken. The very honest and real refrain is shouted at him through the rushing wind and waves, “don’t you care if we drown?”

Don’t you care?

Who has experienced this moment in the last two years? “God don’t you care?” “God I’m drowning here!” Perhaps it’s how you feel? Perhaps it’s something you’re feeling right now but you haven’t shared it with anyone. Not God or a friend?

I believe that this question sparks not anger from Jesus but compassion. The miracles of Jesus are always birthed in compassion. God cares deeply about you. Don’t keep that stuff locked away. It’s hurting you. If you feel full of fear be honest. If you’re drowning in chaos be honest. If you’re feeling like God’s forgotten you or that he doesn’t care, be honest! Spark his compassion.

The rebuke

Jesus gets up, and says ‘oh you of little faith’. It’s a rebuke, but it’s kind. Like when your child suddenly can’t see you and panics. Then you show them you’re right there and hold them. What do you say it that moment? “I would never leave you here, I love you”. That’s what you need to hear in Jesus’ words. “I would never leave you here, I love you”.

Return to Genesis 1

Then it’s like we return to Genesis 1, the waters of chaos are ranging, but this time it’s not the Spirit of God brooding over them, it’s the Son of God within them. Then he speaks...

“Peace, be still”.

And just as the waters receded, to reveal the land in the beginning, at the command of God, so the waters fall still and silent at the word of Jesus.

The difference? Jesus wasn’t just over the chaos, he was in it. We have a God who is in it with us. There has not been a day in the last two years when God has not been closer than your skin. When he speaks, even the wind and waves obey him. He can deal with the chaos. He can bring order.

It is his desire to do so, from order comes life, life in all its fullness. This is the heart of God for you.

Bringing the boat to harbour

So where does this leave us? The chaos around us has been real. The waves were really high. We still have a choice today. We can stop clinging on for dear life. Stop staring at the waves. Stop trying to control the storm, or climb high enough up the rigging to see past it.

I think perhaps God is saying it’s time to bring the boat back into harbour. Time to come home. The Father's arms are open, come home, come and find the rest you so desperately need.

So we let go of the side of the boat, we go to Jesus at the back and we wait for him. He will bring the boat home to safety.

However, I realise there is a tension here, your feelings about the last two years are real and valid. Stop hiding them away. Bring them to Jesus. Stir his compassion. He loves you. Let him speak a word or order in the chaos, let him bring forth life.

Our next steps in the chaos are honesty and trust. We bring who we really are. We share how we're really doing, then we trust him to hold us, keep us safe, and in his good time bring us home to the safe harbour of the Father's arms.

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