40 WAYS IN 40 DAYS LENT 2015
Mark 4: 35-41
35That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Recently I had the opportunity to go over to the other side…of the Indian Ocean to Kerala. I was super stoked this opportunity had come my way and couldn’t wait to get back to a place that brings me such life. But getting there wasn’t so easy. There were children to consider and generous babysitters to arrange and a house to be cleaned so the babysitters could move in and meals to be cooked and frozen and work schedules altered and business to be put on hold and unhappy clients to be dealt with and bags to be carefully packed and safety and security to be considered and Australian like gifts for hosts to be purchased and trips to chemist warehouse to get litres of hand sanitiser and malaria tablets and hair to be cut and eyebrows to be threaded and appropriate clothing to be thought about (have you ever seen how amazingly groomed Indian women are in all circumstances!) and my baby and big kinder girl to say goodbye to and it all got a little out of hand really!
And so it really shouldn’t have surprised us that after 5 hours in transit in Malaysia, and perhaps a bit of a long nap and we actually missed our flight to India! We love a good travel story and we always say “its all about the journey, not the destination,” but really we felt pretty stupid!
Naturally I was pretty relieved to get to finally get to India. I love India for all sorts of reasons but mainly because I can always seem to find a bit of calm amongst the chaos. This time however, the experience wasn’t so much about the roads or the marketplace or the living conditions but about myself. It was time to find my calm amongst my chaos.
Staying on an island amongst the Keralan backwaters we found ourselves in a little cottage perched on the edge of a large rice paddy. There was a stillness there I have never experienced before. There seemed to be little wind or breeze and such quietness that when the prayers from early morning Catholic mass, the Hindu chants from the temple, the bells from the orthodox church and the birds and bats flying in all mingled together over that rice paddy field in a moment of tranquility.
It reminded me of the good old psalm – “Be still and know that I am God (46:10)” I always thought if only I could be still for a moment I might receive that revelation, that epiphany. But staying those 4 nights on the Keralan backwaters I realized that God is the stillness – that the epiphany doesn’t come in the stillness but rather the stillness is the epiphany. By becoming aware of and grabbing hold of the stillness of God and entering it and trusting it we then can be renewed. Oswald Chambers wrote, “the stillness enables us to bring about spiritual initiative…we have to get ourselves up! Then God will give us the power of life.”
It’s interesting to ponder that when the disciples were travelling over to the other side Jesus didn’t prevent the storm but instead calmed it down when the boat was nearly swamped. The disciples had to seek out Jesus in the storm. Without the storm perhaps the disciples would not have experienced the stillness.
And so I grab hold of my rice paddy moment when things are getting a little our of hand and know that my peace comes from Jesus Christ…and then the chaos usually resumes with my little bit of calm amongst it. (Which is precisely why this day 13 Lenten reflection is a week or so late – sorry about that!)
I hope this Lent you are able to find Jesus amongst your chaos.
– Cathie S. Newmarket Baptist