35 Later that day, when evening came, Jesus said to them, “Let’s cross over to the other side of the lake.” 36 They left the crowd and took him in the boat just as he was. Other boats followed along. 37 Gale-force winds arose, and waves crashed against the boat so that the boat was swamped. 38 But Jesus was in the rear of the boat, sleeping on a pillow. They woke him up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re drowning?” 39 He got up and gave orders to the wind, and he said to the lake, “Silence! Be still!” The wind settled down and there was a great calm. 40 Jesus asked them, “Why are you frightened? Don’t you have faith yet?” 41 Overcome with awe, they said to each other, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey him!” Mark 4:35-41, CEB
I have plenty of opportunities in life to be afraid. Change, of any kind, often sparks my fear. Why is that? I don’t really know. I just know it happens. And it happens to all of us (or a lot of us). We have a stereotype of “old people” that they get stuck in their ways and are totally change averse, right? My grandmother(s) could not/would not learn how to use a computer or a cell phone because it was just too different from what she knew. In fact, one of my grandparents got sort of pushed into retirement because she was a bookkeeper who refused to stop doing the books by hand.
Eventually, it seems like we get to a place in our life where we’re simply done changing and adapting and we give up (which may or may not lead to retirement). But, each of us is change averse in smaller ways in our daily lives. I hear a lot of fear around the announcement of each new president. I hear a lot of fear around issues of race in our society. I hear a lot of fear around issues of gender and sexuality, which are ever-present features on our news feeds. Some of it makes me uncomfortable. Some of it I don’t understand. But, I ask myself, why is my response to be afraid? Many of the changes we see and experience each day are inevitable. How does fear relate to trust?
We’re always going to deal with some fear. Having fear doesn’t mean, necessarily, that we’re bad at trust. But I think it’s important to examine our fears, our anxieties, etc. I think it’s important to push ourselves a little bit, to ask ourselves hard questions about whether or not we truly are trusting (and/or exercising faith) that the world is more than the chaos it seems to be.
When I read Jesus’ words here, I try to imagine that he might ask the same thing of me. I could spend my life running from change and living in fear, or I could try to trust that God is active in his creation. It’s a discipline, and it’s not easy, and I’m not good at it, but it’s something I’m trying.
Who’s with me?