The Gospel according to St. Matthew 8:23-27 (The appointed reading for Thursday July 4).
The disciples were traveling by boat and after a while they found that a great storm had surrounded them. Waves crashed against them and shook the boat to and fro. Some of these men were seasoned fishermen and still they found themselves in complete despair. They looked to the Lord Jesus Christ and found Him sleeping through the storm.
As things get bad around us, as our faith is tested and instability happens all around the world we begin to believe that God is not watching or simply doesn’t care about us. We often find ourselves in situations that leave us feeling helpless like these disciples. We see the world shifting and straining all around us. We feel the waves of atheism slamming against our faith. Just the other day I read about an American college student who was asked to remove her 2 inch cross from her necklace because it might offend others. We feel the waves of the sexual agenda as we are told that what is contrary to God and nature is something good and even desirable. We feel the waves of pluralism as some try to teach us that whatever you believe is ok because all religions lead to God. When they tell you that all paths lead to God, you should ask them why Our Lord was crucified?
Even in our own personal lives we feel waves of sorrow, we feel waves of boredom and even waves of despair. There is a spiritual war at work in our lives. The demons want us to feel so overwhelmed by the waves that we fall into complete despair. They want us to give up the fight completely, to lose all possible hope. There is no doubt that some of you have felt that level of despair in your lives. The demons would like to see us drown or be swept away with the tide. It is natural, even human to feel this fear and uncertainty at times. We even feel this way when we want to live good and holy lives and we stumble and fall. The demons always want to remind us of our past sins and hopefully overwhelm us with shame, anxiety and the belief that we will never be anything but sinners.
But let me tell you a secret: Our boat is the Church. Sure, we may feel the waves moving the boat. We may even get a little bit wet. It’s ok, because we are all together here in this boat. We will go through this together. And even more importantly, the Lord Jesus is still in the boat. He may look like He is sleeping, but don’t worry. God hasn’t forgotten us. He didn’t forget the disciples. They cried out to Him “Save us O Lord, we are perishing!” They were worried for their very lives. And the Lord awoke. He looked at them and said “”Why are you afraid, O men of little faith?”
What an amazing question! We claim to believe in the maker of heaven and earth. We claim to believe in the One who rose from the dead. We claim to believe in the one who conquered death by death and at the first sign of the slightest trouble we become cowards like these disciples. We call God our Father every single day and at the first sign of struggle…. we act like orphans. God doesn’t want us to be afraid.
This gospel reading is a reminder that Our Lord Jesus has complete control over the storms of our life. It is a reminder that no matter how nasty those storms might be, it will be alright because God hasn’t left the boat. He loves us. He is with us. He may allow us to struggle, but He won’t let us be overtaken by the storm. He is Our Father.
The Lord allowed the powerful storm because through this storm He demonstrated His great power. There is a saying that goes Don’t tell me how great your problem is, but how great is your God!
It took a great storm and a little bit of fear and uncertainty for the disciples to see just how powerful this man who was sleeping in the boat truly was. Through events such as this they gradually came to understand Him to be Lord and God.
May Our Lord and savior give us courage through the storms so that we might see just how big our God truly is.
Glory be to God AMEN.