I made the mistake of uttering the words, out loud for all to hear; “I cannot remember the last time I was sick. I mean really, really sick! Like can’t get out of bed, no energy sick! My immune system is like a tank!”
That was just dumb. Like really, unbelievably stupid. And, now here I am almost 12days later still feeling unwell and tired, thinking I just cannot do this any longer! Not to manufacture sympathy for myself, but the other day on the way to school, my youngest (bless her little heart) asked my husband if I was going to die?! Now, she does have a flair for the dramatic, but it does go to show you just how out of the routine my home has been in for the past two weeks. That, and I sound like I am trying to expel one, or both of my lungs from my body…please pray with me that no one else catches this plague from me!
I just don’t think we would survive! Now, who has the dramatic flair?!
Anyway, I thought I would share how I was once again reminded of a story that I have heard many times before, but never really paid it the attention it deserves (this seems to be my theme this year).
And, it isn’t the one you are thinking of; with the waving palm branches and crowds shouting “Hosanna.”
The one I remember, comes from Mark chapter 4. Jesus has just shared the parable of the scattered seed, and He, along with the disciples, get in a boat to make their way to the other side of the lake.
Now, I know I am going to see this a little different than you probably read it; but, try to stay with me…
Jesus has just preached and healed.
He has given so much instruction to His disciples.
And, He is tired.
I see an exhausted man. Going below deck to sleep, I picture him quite humanly, collapsing into the cot and immediately being lulled to sleep by the waves. But instead of having peace, He is immediately woken up by the sound of the disciples completely freaking out! Words like “you don’t care if we drown” and “is it nothing to you that we are going down” are being shouted to Him from above deck.
Really?! Had these men learned NOTHING from what He had shown them, spoke to them, and lived before them these past few months?
In my minds eye, I picture a very calm, irritated, and fully human Jesus come up on the deck. With a whisper, He says, in the voice I use with my children (the one that is deceivingly quiet, but very attention getting), “Quiet, be still.” Then, turns to the men, and in the same quiet and eery calm questions their faith.
The story goes on and they get to the other side, only to come upon a crazy man who lives in a cemetery. He is so out of his mind that the people in his community don’t know what to do with him. They put him in a place where he can’t hurt anyone else because the inhabitants are dead.
This man was uncontrollable. He hurts those he comes in contact with and he hurts himself. But, when he sees Jesus heading his way he falls and worships. The demon is cast out, then into the pigs, and again the crowds are amazed at Jesus power. But, still afraid of Jesus and this power, they ask Him to leave.
And Jesus gets back in the boat and heads across the lake; AGAIN.
As I said, I have read this story many times. I have been shocked that disciples would be so faithless and the townspeople so afraid. But, this time what stood out to me was that fact that Jesus faced the storm basically alone and crossed the lake only to save the madman. He did nothing else in that town. He went the lowliest outcast and made him whole.
Wow! Just. Wow! All of that headache and heartache for one man.
It makes me think of the times that I have been in the storm. Where I have seen things in my life as overwhelming, and I just kind of sit and wait for it to pass. Feeling just like those disciples and getting panicky that Jesus is indifferent to the fact that I may drown or go down with the boat. That He is once again flabbergasted at my lack of faith or perspective.
The thing is…He isn’t.
He is with me in the storm.
It makes me think of the times I am standing among the tombstones. Where I have become so consumed with my hurt that I don’t care who gets hurt with me. That the only safe place for me is in isolation. Away from all I know and love, in some kind of self made protection. That He is just too overwhelmed with me. And, that I am just too much for Him.
The thing is…I’m not.
He is with me in the pain.
He is taking me to the other side of the lake through the waves and wind, to show me how He would cross a million stormy oceans just to be with me. That it’s His voice the storms obey.
He is taking me from the tombstones. Out of isolation, He shows me that His voice and His hands are what make me complete. Only He can make me whole.
I am going to choose happy this week because every single place Jesus visited and was rejected, every single life He touched, every single frustration, pain, drop of blood and sweat, every table He turned in the temple, and every humiliation He suffered; He would do it all again. Even if it was just for me, who is standing among the tombstones on the other side of the stormy lake.