Quiet! Be still (Mark 4:35-41)

Ian Pollock, “Tempest Stilled”
My previous post includes Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”. This work was stolen in 1990 and is now on the FBI’s top ten art thefts list: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/arttheft/topten/isabella.htm.
Today’s image may reflect an artist suffering from lower back pain. A sympathetic reading might however be that Jesus is indeed Lord of creation as well as Lord of our lives. His ability to calm the storm on the Sea of Galilee was a foreshadowing of his ability to calm the storm of sin that was unleashed with the mere crunch of a piece of forbidden fruit. Creation is majestic, sin is serious, and our Father’s power to reconcile is undeniable.
Mark chapter 4 is so rich: the parable of the sower, a lamp on a stand, a growing seed, a mustard seed, and now Jesus calming the storm. Having lived along the shores of Lake Michigan here in Wisconsin, as well as along the shores of Lake Baikal in Siberia, I understand the potential ferocity of squalls on inland bodies of water such as the Sea of Galilee.
“Don’t you care if we drown?” The disciples would not the be the last to put such a question to Jesus. I’ve been facing a storm of my own the last four years made up of numerous elements: a spouses health problems, a loss of two ministries, a father’s strokes, a mother’s mental illness, a brother’s cancer, and a change of vocation. There have been times when I’ve cried out, “Lord, don’t you care?”
We read this story and think, “How thick-headed those disciples were. They are with Jesus personally, and a little squall comes up, and they lose it.” Thick-headed indeed. That anyone who is with Jesus would lose it in this way…
So is there an alternative to falling apart when the storms of life rage? “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” There is the key: F-A-I-T-H. Faith the size of a mustard seed will suffice.
Take my case. Yes, there have been significant losses. No, it still doesn’t all make sense. But can I trust and obey? Can I find peace and joy in today? Yes! Jesus is standing right here with me in this little dingy of life saying, “Quiet! Be still.”
More of it may make sense through the eyes of faith. Had the Lord not brought my family back from Russia four years ago my boys would not have had four precious years with Grandpa before his death. I would not have been in a position to assume the role of patriarch for my extended family. The Russian-led ministry which has emerged from the fertile soil of a volcanic blast of expatriate missionary conflict might never have emerged.
While all of this has been going on God has provided me an incredible place to work at Northwestern Mutual. Two days ago I received a card of condolence from the sixty colleagues within my group regarding my Dad’s passing. It included a check for one of the two memorials designated for Dad’s funeral: the Wellspring Pastors’ Network in Siberia. “Quiet! Be still.”
The other memorial was the West Suburban YMCA of Milwaukee. The current management of Tekra Corporation, the company that Dad used to run, made a $25,000 donation to West Suburban to set up a foundation in Dad’s name. And this is just the firstfruits of a legacy that is going to bless many people. “Quiet! Be still.”
Speaking of being still, I’ll be on vacation next week. We’ll be at Coons Franklin Lodgee just north of Minocqua, Wisconsin. Heaven may well have been modeled on this place. You are welcome to submit guest posts on the Proper 8 readings for consideration at skooch@wi.rr.com by tomorrow, Friday 6/23.
Speaking of storms, we’ve just moved to a new house. I did however manage to find a belt and pants to wear to work yesterday. Despite the additional stress, what a blessing to be in a house where our family can stretch and grow and where we can welcome others to the quiet waters God has established for our circle of influence.
I added a counter to this site and have enjoyed watching it increment past 100. Of course, a majority of these hits may be from electronic search and spam bots, but at least there is an illusion of influence. Thanks to those of you who have sent notes of encouragement.
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