Saturday, January 28, 2012

Why are you afraid?

During today's Gospel reading, Jesus takes his disciples out into the deep waters of the sea and then falls asleep. While he is sleeping, a storm blows up. The disciples are terrified and wake him with these words, "Do you not care if we perish?"  Jesus wakes, calms the storm, and then rebukes his disciples, asking them "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?".

Jesus understood that it was because His disciples didn't believe that He really cared about them that they were afraid. That's why He rebuked their lack of faith - a lack of faith in His love for them.  It was their fear that kept them from believing that He would protect them, fear that robbed them of their peace.  Fear causes us to do crazy things. Out of fear, we might kill our unborn child. Out of fear, we might refuse to accept forgiveness because we're afraid it's a trap that'll be used to hurt us.  Fear prevents us from receiving fully the love that God wants to give us.

This passage speaks so strongly to me right now.  I don't need to be afraid of anything, because God's love for me is bigger than any of the storms that may rage around me. I know I don't deserve God's love. I know that no human being does, that the fact He does love us is proof of His goodness, since nothing we can ever do can match what He has done for us. I know that God's justice is always perfect, and there's part of me that wonders if this storm isn't His perfect justice for all of my sins. Then, I read this passage, and I am reminded of something important, something fundamentally true about God and His love for me - God isn't interested in vengence but repentence and reconcilliation. If the storm frightens me away from sin and causes me to leap back into His arms, He'll use the storm as a tool to help me, but He won't let me drown in it. God sent Christ to save me before I even knew I needed saving, with perfect knowledge of all the sins I would ever commit in my lifetime. He isn't going to abandon me now.

I don't deserve His love, that's true, but my sins aren't big enough to drown the ocean of His love for me.  All He asks of me is that I come to Him, acknowledge my brokenness and my need for Him, and allow Him to take me out into the deep waters of His love so that He can wash away all the fear and pain that keep me away from Him.

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