I love taking trips to new places. There is a rather predictable pattern that seems to happen every time I take a road trip. At the beginning, I’m filled with excitement and anticipation. I’m looking forward to what the trip holds – promise, adventure, something new.
By the time I’ve loaded the car and finally gotten on the road, I suddenly start to realize exactly how long the trip is going to be. I seem to forget the excitement, and a steady dread takes over me. I start counting the miles and ask myself, are we there yet?
When I can finally fathom exactly how far away the end will be, I am suddenly filled with hope and my excitement returns - I again think of all the adventure I’m about to experience.
This morning as I was reading Luke 8:22-25, I was reminded of this pattern of travel. Jesus got in a boat with His disciples and asked them to row to the other side of the lake. I imagine their journey looked a little like my trip – as they were in the middle, maybe they wondered exactly how long that journey was going to be.
Unfortunately, their journey got a little more complicated than my trip. A severe storm came up. I imagine since many of the disciples were fishermen, this was not something unusual or new to them. This was definitely not the first storm they had experienced on the water.
But this storm was so severe that it began to fill the boat with water. The situation was so scary that they began to fear for their lives.
This is a story that I have been familiar with for some time. When I read it this morning, something new jumped out at me.
Previously, I had read the story with a hint of sarcasm. In the midst of their fear and despair, the disciples found Jesus asleep in the boat. They woke him up, and he rescued them from the storm. I had always wondered why Jesus asked the disciples to get in the boat and was then found asleep at the point of their deepest need. If I’m totally honest with you, I had actually blamed Jesus for neglecting the disciples.
I could not understand why He, knowing everything, would have put them in the circumstance of a life-threatening situation and then be unavailable to take their call. How could He sleep knowing what was about to come up?
But this morning, the Holy Spirit revealed a slightly different version of the story. I had come to realize that I had inserted my own attitude into the story. But what if the story happened slightly differently.
What if Jesus asked the disciples to row the boat to the other side of the lake? And what if the disciples, being experienced fishermen and being very comfortable in boats and on water, had focused their full attention on the boat and the journey. I’m sure they had lots to think about and lots to do. What if there was silence on the boat?
Silence on the boat meant they weren’t talking – talking to Jesus, that is. And what if Jesus decided that since the disciples were busy, he’d catch up on some sleep. After all, the waves were gentle and the disciples were busy doing other things.
What if the disciples were so caught up in their jobs that they forgot about Jesus… until things were beyond their control.
I have to say that I’m definitely guilty as charged. It’s so easy to get caught up in the doing that my proverbial boat becomes silent.
I’ve heard pastors like Jimmy Evans say that Jesus isn’t a bully – He doesn’t barge His way into a situation. And I can imagine that is exactly why He was quick to rescue the disciples, and why He didn’t get in the disciples’ way as they busied themselves. He was simply waiting for their invitation.
This morning, I was challenged to look at how I approach life’s many journeys. Whether I’m in a season of anticipation and looking forward to a journey, or if I’m stuck in the middle of a journey facing a storm, or if I’m nearing the end and finally experiencing a destination, I was challenged to find new and creative ways to prevent my “boat” from becoming silent.
Today I find myself in the middle of a journey – for me, it’s the hardest part. I must say I’m guilty of silence in my boat. And it’s a good reminder to get the conversation going and keep my eyes on Him instead of all the other things. It’s also a good reminder to enjoy the journey and not get so caught up in all the distractions that are coming my way.
It’s my sincerest hope that your boat is filled with wonderful conversations throughout the entirety of your trip, wherever you are on your journey today.