1. On that day, as evening drew on, Jesus said to his disciples: “Let us cross to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Jesus with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”
He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!” The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”Mk4:35-41). Taken from today’s Sunday gospel.
2. The questions of Jesus to his apostles: why are you terrified? Are you still without faith? are questions that could be addressed to us today in the present situation in Nigeria. We can answer by saying that we are terrified because our life is no longer peaceful and we do not see how peace can return without disaster. We are terrified because we can no longer travel without the fear of being kidnapped. We are terrified because of the quantity of illegal arms circulating in the society, heavy arms in the hands of terrorists and bandits. We are terrified because those who are in position to bring peace are more interested in personal gains accruing through the disordered state of affairs.
3. Today Jesus comes to us with a message of encouragement. The gospel presents him as being asleep in the midst of deadly storm that was filling his boat with water. How could he sleep in such disturbing situation? Well, asleep or not, the apostles had to wake him with their cries. Their plea was a cry of distress: “do you not care if we perish?” It was a cry full of confidence. They were not waking him for him to swim and safe his life. They woke him to calm the storm because they know what he can do. None of them tried to jump into the water to swim to safety. They know what Jesus could do. Jesus rebuked the storm and the sea became calm. He then addressed them with the question: “why are you terrified? Have you forgotten that the whole world is under my control?”
4. This question needs personal appropriation. Through it Jesus affirms that when he is present we need not fear any evil. When we forget that God is with us we can make mistakes. We can start looking for solutions from where they could not be found. We can even start blaming God for being inactive. Down through the ages God has proved to be a stronghold for those who trust in him. Courage and confidence in times of trials attract God’s attention to our problems. That was the case of David and Goliath. The fundamental question is: are you ready to take the step of faith as David did? Are you ready to assure God that he can calm the storm by staying in the boat without jumping into the water?
5. Our life on earth is never without storms. These come in different shapes and sizes. Poverty, ill health, family conflict, work pressure and misunderstanding, sin, bad governance and insecurity etc. In all these storms God does not leave us alone. He is there quite awake even though he might appear to be sleeping. The attitude of the apostles should guide our action when in the midst of storm. We should ‘wake God up’ from his sleep while staying in the boat. We should tell him that we are perishing. The two actions must be present: waking him up and telling him to save us. It is work and prayer together.
6. Like any Nigerian who can read the signs of the time you must be terrified by the news you hear on daily basis. You are right in doing so. However, you must not forget that the world and its history is in the hands of God. Good and evil are all instruments of his goodness and wrath. You should therefore not die worrying about tomorrow. Take each day as it comes. He who created you will not fail to lead you along the right path. He will be with you when you pass through fire and water.(Is43:2-4). Hold on to him for even though the just man passes through many trials, the Lord will not fail to rescue him from all of them (Ps 34:19). @Vita, 20/06/21.
Peace and security upon you.