Stay Calm, God is in the Boat

I remember going to a lakeside retreat and getting in a boat to enjoy some fun in the water. I eventually decided to have fun by being while riding on a car tire inner tube that was tied to a rope and pulled behind the boat that I was in.

It was exciting as the driver of the boat steered in different paths to the left and the right across the lake and with each turn, whether wide and slow or sharp and fast, I was treated to a thrilling time that both tested my faith in the driver and my ability to hold onto the inner tube while I was being whipped around, especially during the sharp turns.

After a while of being whipped around, I was unable to hold onto the inner tube and I fell into the lake. I did not have a full-size life jacket on and began to sink as the small life jacket I was wearing could not keep me from sinking. I tried to keep above the water, but my arms were very tired from holding onto the inner tube and were weak. I could not keep my head above the water and thought that I would drown. It took the driver of the boat much longer than I expected before he came to rescue me.

I was terrified and feared that I would not make it out alive. My arms became too weak to tread water, I used up all my strength to stay afloat, and had nothing left. Then, I prayed to God to give me strength to keep my head above the water. I strangely became genuinely calm and stopped struggling to say afloat. My arms and legs felt like rubber, so I just became still. My head was barely above the surface of the lake, but I was able to keep breathing.

Being calm allowed me to stop struggling and breathe more easily. Without the vigorous movement of my arms and legs, my head was able to barely float above the water. That is if the water around me remained calm too, and no boat came near me. When boats came too close, with each of their wakes my head was forced below the lake's surface.

Afterward, if I remained calm and kept close to the water's surface, as soon as the lake around me became calm, I could breathe again. I remained calm and prayed for no more boats to ride close to me. Some did but remaining calm kept my head above the water and helped me weather the wakes. The driver of the boat I was on finally located me and I was rescued.

Fear comes to us in small ripples and overwhelming waves. We will never live in a world that has no fear, we must expect it and react to it appropriately. Because living in constant fear causes us to tire ourselves out and drown as we flail around working against our best interests to live as Jesus said, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 NRSV) Instead of becoming consumed by our fear, let's respond to it with our faith.

Read this week's Bible passage found in Mark 4:35-41. In it you will find an account of a day in the life of Jesus and his disciples after Jesus had spent the day teaching the crowds of people who were following him. Read what happened at the end of that day when Jesus and his most devoted students decided to make travel plans. Fear became an unwelcomed guest on that trip. Discover what Jesus said and did to help his disciples deal appropriately with their fear.

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