This past weekend God organized a lovely retreat for me and two friends. Literally the way the details fell together, the way we all chipped in a piece to make it happen and how it occurred last minute to a bunch of “planners” there is no other way to describe our brief overnight venture then something that the Lord put together for us. One of the activities was a guided contemplation on the story of Jesus and the Disciples when they got on the boat so Jesus could rest and the storm hit the water. (Mark 4).
I sat on the porch of this home where we had rented a few rooms to get away… Dogs were barking, birds were chirping and oh how hard it was to focus on the story being told over the video. It mirrored a lot my life. The swirls of chaos, the noise. The storm. I thought of some of my current storms and fears. Details for our upcoming home assignment sitting awaiting to be done, trying to wrap up things well here before departing, two upcoming workshops/trainings I’m assisting with, my kids and each of the unique places I long to meet and journey with them as they grow and mature, connecting with my husband, language work, team dynamics. The dynamics shifted and I begin to think of other things out of my control that scared me, gossip about me, things being said about who I am and what I do that I have no control over, stories being written and told about me that aren’t real or true…slander… ways I had mistakenly overlooked others needs, misunderstandings, places where my capacities had met my desire in a colossal clash and then these words broke the chaos from the story,
“Why are you afraid?”.
The storm is raging, swirling around, as of yet unchecked by its maker but instead of calming the storm Jesus touches the disciples face and perhaps cups it in his hand. The storm swirls its ugly chaos seemingly unchecked and yet the center of the story is not the chaotic storm it is found in the eye of the storm, the very center. It is here that Jesus looks into the eyes of His disciples, it is where He cups my face in His hands and my eyes graciously lock with His instead of chasing the swirling chaos. Where the drop in barometric pressure goes unnoticed and the things that held such significance moments ago seem to no longer matter.
Can you see it? The storm is still raging, it’s loud and chaotic and seemingly unchecked but suddenly it loses its significance and power. Not because it is calmed (yet), and not because it isn’t screaming for attention but because what matters is not the storm itself what matters is that it is not to be feared.
“why are you afraid”
Instead of calming the storm first Jesus calls us to focus on who He is, and on who we are and it is in that moment that the storm loses its power. It’s swirling but its swirling chaos serves to focus on what truly matters instead of detract.
“Why are you afraid?”
I can only type these words because the depth of that simple phrase is still ruminating in my mind and heart.
For my overseas sisters, and those of you that are not overseas but just want a retreat can I highly recommend the Velvet Ashes retreat? This year it was a great walk through Spiritual formation exercises to create space for God to personally speak. And if you’ve done it will you reach out to me and share what God spoke to you?
We seek to empower our children, our teammates and our Sudanese friends to love and know more of who God is through acts of loving service and biblical teaching.