I look at this boat, and I see a reflection of my heart. It is beaten and shook up—impending danger of crashing or sinking. I recognize my dwindled hope and frantic impulses in the expressions of the men aboard.
In my life, I strive to do whatever God tells me—to follow Him anywhere. On this journey, I have found myself in storm after storm after storm. My occupation is spontaneous, my Vocation is a mystery, and I cannot say with certainty whether I live east or west of the state of Minnesota.
“’Let us go across to the other side.’ … A great gale arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped.” (Mark 4: 35, 37)
What in your life takes form of the wind beating against you—the waves attempting to overcome you? Identify the circumstances that bring turbulence into your life. How do these impact your motivation to keep moving forward?
I sometimes feel like there is no purpose to any of the things I do. I feel like the man in the painting who clings to the tiller in a desperate attempt to steer the uncontrollable boat. I then shift to the man so overwhelmed that he is no longer capable of doing anything but to vomit over the side. All of it seems pointless, and it is hard to find the Zeal to continue.
When I think of Zeal, I see eyes glistening with excitement—people bursting with energy to accomplish the mission lighting up their souls. They go out with torches—dry brush catches flame—the entire earth is blazing—every soul is burning with God’s Love. I wonder how this concept could possibly coincide with my heart being trapped in a storm at sea. The flame on my own torch has been extinguished by the wind and the waves. Nothing is clear anymore, and I am afraid.
I am fixed in on the chaos, but a subtle glow draws me to a Presence that is quiet and calm. Jesus. He is on the boat, and He is in my heart.
“But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be Still!’ Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.” (Mark 4: 38-39)
Only Jesus can bring stillness to my heart. He shows me that His Presence is the source of my Zeal. Only with Him am I able to put His Love in action. It is my relationship with Him that fills me with the Grace to continue and be fruitful.
I do not need a torch. I need Him.
Without allowing Jesus to move through my every action, whether I do a lot or a little, none of it matters. The man attempting to steer the boat in the storm contributes no more than the man vomiting over the side. Until I invite Jesus to move within and around me, I am stuck in Sloth. It is Jesus who motivates me to persevere and brings purpose to my actions.
Have you asked Him to act in your life? Allow Him into your heart. Tell Him about the wind and the waves that frighten and confuse you. Do not worry about carrying a torch. Carry Him, and allow Him to carry you. Trust Him. He sees you as worthy of His protection. He desires for you to be filled with His Peace. He will still the storm.
“He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’” (Mark 4: 40)
The image of "Sailing in the Storm of Galilee" is in the public domain and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rembrandt_Christ_in_the_Storm_on_the_Lake_of_Galilee.jpg