As the news of COVID-19 escalates, our anxieties and fears tend to rise as well. How do we keep calm amidst the storm of minute by minute media coverage? How do we separate real and valuable information from hype? It isn't easy. We are told through scripture to cast our cares on God, the source of strength. That perfect love casts out fear. That we should be "anxious for nothing," Yet still we may find our minds swirling with "what if's," and worry.
I can't help but think about Jesus and the disciples in the midst of the storm on the Sea of Galilee. As the disciples scurried around the boat, fearing for their lives, Jesus slept on a pillow in the stern. In Hebrew, sleeping is a metaphor for trust. Isn't that beautiful - that though he is in the same storm with the disciples, Jesus chooses trust over fear. And that IS beautiful - if you're Jesus. But how about the rest of us? Let's look at the disciples.
In their fear, they felt the need to wake Jesus up. "Master, don't you care that we are perishing?"
At first glance, we may think of the disciples, (and us) as not having enough faith. Why couldn't they (or, why can't we) trust that God is in control - and let Jesus sleep? But I don't see the disciples waking Jesus as an act of fear - I see it as an act of faith! While the storm swirled around them and they had done everything they knew to hold things together, instead of relying on themselves and their own abilities, they went to the source of power and strength. They woke up Jesus! What a bold and faith-filled act! And what a fantastic model of prayer for us during times of anxiety.
So many times we approach God as pleading children - begging for mercy or protection or immunity from the storms of life. But God has given us a promise . . . that despite how it may look or how we feel, God's promise is sure; God will never leave us alone - not for one second. And so when storms come we can pray to God, not arrogantly . . . but confidently, and with boldness, and with surety in God's promise as did so many before us in scripture... "Wake up God! You promised to be with me and right now I'm not feeling it!"
Now, this kind of praying does two things (at least). First, it focuses our attention from the storm to the only one who will finally, still the storm. And second - it reminds us that the Christ in us continually connects us to God through the Holy Spirit. The Jesus (Christ) in us always "sleeps," always trusts. In faith, "wake up," the Jesus inside of you! In faith, call on that trust, call on that calm, call on that love. Stand up and rebuke the wind in your own mind - "Peace, be still." And rest in God's great calm.
Peace to you,