Tuesday, June 30, 2015

“Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others.”

“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?” – C.S. Lewis: (1898 – 1963: English Academic, Poet, and Novelist)

Gospel text: (MT 8:23-27)
As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him.
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea,
so that the boat was being swamped by waves;
but he was asleep.
They came and woke him, saying,
“Lord, save us! We are perishing!”
He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?”
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea,
and there was great calm.
The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this,
whom even the winds and the sea obey?”

Matthew's Gospel story about Jesus calming the stormy sea causes us to sit up and take notice of Jesus’ divine nature. Many of his other miracles – water into wine, healings, bringing people who have died back to life – while definitely awe-inspiring are more “personal.” They involve him doing an amazing, unbelievable act to fulfill a need for someone he cares about. They do defy the natural order to be sure, but they seem somehow simpler to understand than the story we read today.

Calming a turbulent storm by rebuking the winds and sea goes to a whole new level. It's hard to get our minds around it. The wind, the water – these are raw elements of nature – they are chaotic; they don't respond to human desires. Anyone who has ever been caught in a blinding downpour, let alone with crashing waves, knows the unpredictability – and the fear – they produce.

And that's the point. Only God – the Creator, the mastermind behind the universe – could do something like this. Even his disciples, though they were inspired by him and committed to him, were "amazed,” and asked, "What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?" I imagine that after the initial gasps and mutterings, they had to have been somewhat dumbstruck as the reality of who Jesus was sunk in.

Whenever we may be afraid the earth is collapsing under our feet, let us not forget that our Savior is God himself who made man and that He is always close to us, most especially when we face our own “stormy seas”.

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