Today is Father’s Day. I have known people that did not have a good relationship with their father. Because of this, they have difficulty relating to God as their Father. My prayer for them is that they were able to find a father figure in their life and are able to relate to God as a parent. We are the children of God.
I was blessed to have had a very good father. The adjectives that could describe him are numerous. But the stories I could tell would speak volumes. When I was in first and second grade, our family lived in Oklahoma, part of Tornado Alley. Dad was a Boy Scout Executive. We had a set of megaphones that he placed on top of our car during tornadoes. I have always assumed that this was part of his job, but it could have been part of his sense of civic duty. Daddy would drive ahead of the storms warning people of the danger and telling them to get to shelter.
Meanwhile our family was at home. We did not have a basement. I remember my mother sitting under the dining room table trying to explain tornadoes using a cast iron frying pan as a prop. We were all to hold on to the legs of the table in order to be safe. I even remember a picture in the newspaper showing that a cafe blew away and the tables were still there because people took cover under the tables. This sounds more like a good mother story. Yes, my mother was there protecting us and trying to keep us calm, all four of her children, a 6 year old, an 8 year old , a 9 year old , and a baby. She did a good job. But, I was Daddy’s little girl. I was never really calm until Daddy came home. My Daddy always came home. And there was an increased sense of safety that I felt when he was finally home. He smoked a pipe, and to this day when I smell black cherry pipe tobacco I feel safe.
We weather many storms as we go through life. Some are real weather storms like tornadoes, floods, and blizzards. This time of year I am one of the first in the house to be in the basement. Other storms can be in your relationships, financial worries, and with your health. When I was younger I would go to my Daddy with any problem that I couldn’t solve. But he taught me to be independent and think through things on my own. He would also suggest giving it to the Lord in prayer.
When I went through cancer, he offered to fly out from California and help with the kids. I turned him down. My little sister called and told me that I broke his heart. He could finally help me and I turned him down. He did a good job teaching me independence. Thanks to my sister, I called Daddy and asked him to come out. He stayed with us for almost three weeks. When he went home, I cried because I did not know if I could manage without him. I did manage. Prayer was the catalyst. Friends, family, and my church prayed.
What frightens you? You know my fear this time of year, tornadoes. The Pandemic has been an ongoing fear for many people. We live in a farming community and the weather has not been ideal. It breaks my heart when I listen to the news and hear of shootings and injustices in the world. We have heard so much about people that need help to put food on the table or pay the bills. Maybe you are personally experiencing these type of events.
If you had to describe your life at this moment in terms of the weather, how would you explain it and why? Are you in a Tsunami, because you are overwhelmed with stuff? Maybe partly sunny, because there are more good days than bad days. How about thunderstorms, because you just want to shelter in one place?
In the scripture today, we find Jesus and his disciple in the midst of their own weather-related event. Listen to how the disciples approach Jesus during the storm. (Mark 4:38) Jesus was in the back, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him up. They said, “Teacher! Don’t you care if we drown?”
That day started out as any other day for Jesus and the disciples. A day of teaching and healing, a day like many other days in the lives of those who followed Jesus. But it was a tiring day. Jesus wanted to get away. So they get in a boat and they set off across the Sea of Galilee.
It is really a lake. A big lake, but not a great lake. It is approximately 13 miles long and 7.5 miles wide at its broadest point. The sea resembles the shape of a harp. Because of its location, the Sea of Galilee is prone to pop-up storms. Out of nowhere with nothing on the horizon, along comes a storm.
Just last week, I heard a true story of someone on an average size lake in Wisconsin. They were on a pontoon. Now before I heard this story, I considered pontoons as the ultimate safe boat. A storm came up and the pontoon was almost standing on end. Average size of a pontoon is 22 feet by 16 feet. Historians believe that Jesus’ boat measured about 27’ long, 7.5’ wide and 4.5’ deep.
Who are we to judge the disciples’ fear? There is a feeling about the storm in this story, that it isn’t just a storm or an average natural occurrence. It is something bigger. It’s fierce. How fierce have the storms you face been?
So often when people are faced with the “storms” of life. Some of the questions raised are, “Why me, why now, why them, God why can’t you stop it?”
The disciples had Jesus in the boat and instead of asking Him to save them or help, they went right to “Don’t you care?” Not, help us or tell us what to do. No they said “Don’t you care?”
The story isn’t really about the storm. The storm does get our attention. It is a story about Jesus and a story about faith. When we are afraid, we become distracted. We can lose all hope. You may be stronger and that is when your faith gains strength. Not everyone is. Some of us need to be reminded that God cares. That is when our family of faith comes into play. The storms of life should bring God and hope to the forefront of our beliefs. But don’t beat yourself up if that is not what happens.
Even the disciples had to be reminded, by Jesus, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” They knew Jesus. They were taught by Jesus. They were witnesses to the miracles. Even after Jesus calmed the wind, this group of followers asked “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” They had never seen Jesus still a storm before. With all they knew about Jesus, it had not occurred to them to ask Jesus to do such a thing. The disciples waited until they feared for their life. They had given up, on life, on hope and on Jesus.
Jesus cares. God cares. We are not meant to live in fear. We are meant to have faith in God and our friends to help us navigate the storms of life.
God cares. God our Father cares. We address God as “Our Father” in the Lord’s prayer that Jesus taught us. When Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees, his response was: (John 8:18-19) 18 I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.” 19 Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
In the accounts of Jesus’ life found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, we see many examples of Jesus’ love. Jesus doesn’t play favorites. He loves everyone regardless of his or her situation—Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, popular or shunned, liked or despised. He even loves the doubters.
“If you knew me, you would know my Father also.”
Jesus is always here. God is always here. Jesus knows that we do not always obey him. He knows that we do not always have faith. Jesus cares enough to be with us through the storm, no matter what. As we try to live a life like Jesus, we should also rely on our brothers and sisters in the storm. Share our fears. Pray. Help one another.
Find ways to bring joy to others.
Know that we are loved.