COMMUNITY VOICES: God, Are You Sleeping?

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— By Pastor Paul Witkop — 

One of my favorite accounts from the life of Jesus is when Jesus and the disciples are traveling on the Sea of Galilee. A gigantic storm erupts, and everyone is afraid, that is everyone except Jesus, who happens to be sleeping in front of the boat. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” —Mark 4:38

This is one of the places where I can really relate to the disciples?

“Jesus, I am in the middle of a terrible storm, and you are sleeping…or at least is sure seems like you are.”

“Jesus, there is a pandemic virus going on in the world. I am praying, but it’s bad. People are losing their jobs. The vulnerable are being isolated. Jesus, don’t you care?”

In verses 39-41, we read: When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Putting myself in the disciples’ place, they were simply remembering past experiences and imagining what could happen. Maybe they had heard about, even friends, other fishermen…who had been caught in a storm like this and drowned.

Verse 41 tells us: The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

The disciples are beginning to process this event. They feared for their lives in the storm. They feared a WHAT. But now, they ask, “Who is this man? Even the winds and waves obey him.” This WHO is very different.

In our world today, there is a huge WHAT that is causing fear, there is a WHO that says, “I want you to look at me.”

Does this mean that we sit back and just wait for Jesus to work a huge miracle and eradicate the virus? I think not. He has given us creative minds and many opportunities to help others. Social distancing, looking out for the vulnerable, are some of the ways that we love God by loving our neighbors.

Ultimately, we have a choice. Every day when we wake up, do we live in fear of this huge WHAT? No, we research medical solutions, we work together, we take the paths and work the options that are provided. But ultimately, we trust the future into the hands of the greatest WHO, Jesus. There is an old cliché sounding truth, that has now taken on new significance for me.

I don’t know the details of what the future holds, but I know WHO holds the future.

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