Sunday, July 27, 2014

Excitement in the Boat, part 6:

But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. (Luke 8:23-24 NASB)

There can be a vast difference between the reality of a situation and our perception of that situation.  Scripture tells us that the disciples were kindyneu┼Ź, "in danger".  This was an absolutely real danger, but what kind of danger?  Their boat was caught in a whirlwind or hurricane, and was tossed about. The waves were chaotic and water was pouring into the boat, which was beginning to be swamped. The immediate danger was that the boat would sink and they would be thrown into the water. Once they landed in the water, there would be a different set of dangers, but they were not in those dangers yet. 

The disciples' perception about their situation was apollymi. This word is translated as "perishing" but, according to Vine's Expository Dictionary, it is used to mean "ruin" or "loss of well being."  Their perception was that they were about to be utterly destroyed, not just losing their life but everything that mattered, and they were terrified. 

There is a vast difference between the risk of falling out of the boat and the risk of losing everything, including your life.  In the midst of a horrific storm, they both look very much alike. Once the falling out of the boat was accomplished, the risk would be loss of life and all that was dear. The disciples were so busy anticipating the worst that it seemed to be already upon them. A boat in danger of sinking is not yet a sunken boat, but it "felt like it".  

Why does this difference in perception matter?  The action required for a boat about to be swamped in a storm is different than that required when a boat is gone and you are tossed into the sea. Overwhelming fear and misperception can cause you to start throwing things overboard and clinging to life rafts when what is actually needed is a big bucket with which to bail the water. 

The good news is that they, in their despair, took their fears and their desperate situation to Jesus, who readily intervened. It was the right decision, and might have been made earlier.  It should have been made earlier. Regardless, once the help of God was sought, it was received, and the storm was stilled. 

When Jesus spoke to the storm, He stilled the waves and the wind. He did not miraculously empty the boat of the water with which those raging waves had filled it. The disciples still needed a big bucket with which to bail out the water, and there was more water to bail because of their delaying in calling out to Jesus. 

What does all this mean for us?  It is important that we correctly assess the danger in the midst of the storms of life so that we can take the appropriate action in response. It is even more important that we take those storms of life to Jesus, who can still the storm with a word. Stilling the storm does not mean there are no sequelae with which to deal, but the timing of our surrender of the situation can result in more (or less) "water to bail". 

Dear ones, if you find yourself in a life-storm, don't wait until you are terrified and paralyzed with fear. Take it to Jesus now, invite Him to intervene, and allow Him to quiet your storm. You may still need to bail, but the sooner you invite Him into your storm, the less water you will need to bail. 
Link to last night's post:
Our terrorist prayer focus this week is Abubakar Shekau. He is the leader of Boku Haram, a radical terrorist organization operating in northeastern Nigeria. He is particularly fond of kidnapping and murder, having kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls (many who are still in captivity). Earlier this week, his forces captured a civilian-controlled town, murdered at least 100 people, and made the town his new headquarters. More than 22,000 have been killed in battle between his forces and the Nigerian military in the last few years. Earlier this week, two bombs in Abuja killed dozen more. Boku Haram is suspected. Please pray for an end to his reign of terror and for salvation for him and his men.