Sometimes life overwhelms us. Our inner life and external circumstances appear battered by storms about which we seem to have little control. Our boat – our self, our sense of direction and purpose – may seem to be sinking. But, we are never alone. Christ is with us in the storms of life.
As I read the story of the storm at sea (Mark 4:35-41), I see the boat as a symbol of our “self” or “ego.” But, notice that Jesus is asleep in the boat. Jesus is always there, even when we are unaware of it. As I read the story, the disciples panic as the waves batter their boat. They see themselves as alone and without resources. But, everything changes when they realize that Jesus is in the boat with them. Was Jesus asleep? Or, were they simply unaware of his presence? Everything changes when they remember he is with them.
I believe that two “miracles” occur in this story. The first is the miracle of a transformed mind, a changed perception of their circumstances. Once they realized that Jesus was with them, the disciples were no longer afraid. The storms continued, the circumstances remained the same, but they found a sense of calm amid the storm. Only later did the environment change, perhaps, eventually mirroring their changed perception and consciousness.
God is always with us in the storm. We are safe even when we are at risk, because deep down God’s everlasting love surrounds, strengthens, and guides us. These days, the waves often batter our lives – and I speak as one who recently was downsized from my seminary administrative position – and we can feel insecure economically, vocationally, emotionally, and spiritually. But, God is with us in the storm. When we waken to this reality, we experience calm and insight and discover that we can make it through the storms of life. The storms may continue but we have an inner companion and guide that will sustain and uphold us.
Today’s affirmations for the storms of life:
God is with me in the storms of life.
God is present even when I don’t notice it.
God’s love constantly supports and guides me.
See you Monday for the next edition of Adventures in Healing and Wholeness
Bruce Epperly is a theologian, spiritual guide, healing companion, retreat leader and lecturer, and author of nineteen books, including Holy Adventure: 41 Days of Audacious Living; God’s Touch: Faith, Wholeness, and the Healing Miracles of Jesus; and Tending to the Holy: The Practice of the Presence of God in Ministry. He has taught at Georgetown University, Wesley Theological Seminary, Claremont School of Theology, and Lancaster Theological Seminary. He is currently theologian in residence at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. His most recent book Process Theology: A Guide for the Perplexed will be released in May 2011. He can be reached for lectures, seminars, and retreats at firstname.lastname@example.org