Monday, September 23, 2013

The Pickup And The Boat

I don't go in to lift weights in our school building anymore at 4:20 AM but I still don't like the feeling of being scared over nothing. The following is from March 22, 2006.

As is my custom three times per week, I lifted weights this morning. As is also my custom, I arrived at school at 4:20 a.m. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Actually, I came in to lift yesterday morning at 4:20 a.m. but something intervened, keeping me from my workout. Just as I put the key in the door to enter our building, a pickup truck coasted through the driveway, not twenty feet from where I stood. The Ford F250 cruised down by the football locker room and pulled over. I became agitated, conflicted about what I should do. I hated to miss lifting but I didn't want to get mugged. After debating with myself, I got back in my car and drove the one hundred feet down the driveway. The truck was empty. Obviously, the driver had either sank to the floor or gone inside. Now, I was really at a loss. I did what any good citizen would do. I copied down the license plate number and went home. An hour or so later, I returned and found the truck in the same spot. I located Paul Arnold, our executive in charge of facilities, and explained what happened. Paul told me the Ford belongs to an elderly gentleman who works in our congregation's food pantry, adjoining our football locker room. I thought, "What is he doing here at 4:20 a.m.?" Then I thought, "What am I doing here at 4:20 a.m.?" The upshot of yesterday's scare was that I was frightened off by a man I know who is over eighty years old. So much for bravery. I felt no nervousness today.

My sophomores are studying the story of Jesus calming a storm on the Sea of Galilee. Told in three of the four Gospels, Mark uses the term terrified in his account to describe the behavior of the disciples. It's interesting that terrified did not refer to their anxiety about the storm. It applied to their reaction to Jesus after he rebuked the wind and stilled the tempests. I tell my students the difference between fear and terror: fear has to do with the known while terror implies an encounter with the unknown. A number in the boat that night were fisherman and knew first hand the dangers of the conditions. Undoubtedly, they had faced fierce squalls on that same body of water. But what terrified them was something they had NEVER witnessed before- a man who could with a word from his mouth control nature at its height. Matthew 8:28 records their words; "What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!" Luke 8:23 indicates that due to the storm, the men were in great danger... but they were still safe. They were not at risk because they were in the right boat. What was Jesus doing before he intervened with the weather? He was fast asleep! The men woke him but had no expectations he would perform an amazing miracle. Notice, their question was not, "What are you going to do?" Their question was, "Don't you care if we drown?" He didn't care because they weren't about to perish in the sea. He asked them a question in return. "Where is your faith?" He probably was asking me the same question yesterday as I shivered and tried to decide how to handle the intruder in the pickup. Caution is good and being careful is wise but safety does not reside in our own efforts. Our perils are no less real than those faced by the disciples battered by the elements. But, even if we meet hardships and danger and sorrow, we are still in his hands and still in his boat. His boat will dock successfully, insuring the safety of his most precious passengers, his children.

Applicable quote of the day:
"When we are in a situation where Jesus is all we have, we soon discover he is all we really need."
Gigi Graham Tchividjian

God bless,

Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Jon said...

way to go coach..... HAHAHA