PUC alum, Brad Gienger, graduated in 2010 with a religion degree and clearly put that to good use as he is now serving as the pastor of the Champaign Seventh-day Adventist Church in Illinois. Brad was kind enough to share with us a little Friday worship thought!
“Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”, these are some of the most biting words in Scripture. This question is especially hard-hitting in light of the context, a storm. As Jesus and his disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee a storm takes them with such ferocity that hardened fishermen find themselves fearing for their very lives, “Save us, Lord: we are perishing.” As I read that cry I immediately experience empathy, we all should, who has not been caught in a storm? Often it has been a great comfort to me to know that in the storms of life, literally and figuratively, I can cry out to Jesus. When I read the response of Jesus to that plea I must admit to finding it troubling. Why would Jesus rebuke the cry of his follower in the midst of a storm? Would Jesus do that to me?
In the course of serving the Lord storms arise, in fact, if your life of service is stormless it is time to do some soul searching. What do we make of this interaction Jesus has with his disciples? Is it wrong to cry out to God during the storms of life? No, in fact, we are urged to ask Jesus anything many times in Scripture, called to know God as our Rock and Shield. So how then do we understand this story? The disciples unwittingly reveal the answer as they comprehend the capability of Jesus to calm the storm, “What sort of man is this?”. The rebuke of Jesus has nothing to do with the storm and everything to do with the relationship. The issue is not that the disciples are afraid due to the situation they are in, but rather that they are afraid in the company they are in. Jesus wants us to call out to him in the storm, but to call out to him in the knowledge he is with us “even to the end of the age,”.