We begin with Mark’s story of the boat on troubled waters (Mark 4:35-41). Jesus and some followers were in a small vessel that got caught in a storm. Amid the threat of drowning, Jesus was awakened from his nap in the boat’s stern. Jesus halted the winds and calmed the waves. All turned out well despite the initial fear of the terrified crew.
There are lessons in this story of taming the angry wind and sea. One jewel is that you need to stay calm amid life’s storms. Otherwise, if the wind and waves don’t get you then your fears may still sweep you away. Trust God that no matter what life hurls at you because your soul will be secure. Try to remain positive and believe that when things get bad you can call upon God to bring you to safety. Remain calm and carry on. Even more so, remain faithful and expect God’s favor. The gist is that you can implore God to preserve you from soul peril. God is always with you!
Now we turn to another yet similar addition to today’s lesson, 2 Corinthians 6:1-13. Paul had his hands full with this church in Corinth, Greece. The issue was Paul’s encouragement for the Corinthians to accept God’s salvation. Then as now, time is of the essence! Have you ever delayed something that you knew you shouldn’t? Well, in this case there’s more than just putting off the unpleasant trip to the dentist. Paul suggested that there’s nothing in the way, no excuse for the Corinthians to further delay redemption. What was it that the Corinthians were supposed to do? It seems they were demoting their relationship with God. Paul had spent much effort to shepherd these Greeks but they weren’t responding well and they acted stubbornly hard-hearted.
Paul had previously written the Corinthians and shared the glory of God’s greatness. Yet the Corinthians continued to
avoid fulfilling their joy. Paul even provided an impressive list of horrible situations that he and his associates had endured but which had turned-out well. Beatings, prison, hunger . . . you name it. In all these hardships, Paul encouraged the Corinthians to celebrate victory even when things went terribly wrong.
Finally, Paul admonished the Corinthians to open their hearts to the true, powerful message of transformation (which is redemption). The Corinthians were lax and didn’t seem to feel a sense of urgency. The Corinthians did not sufficiently accept or share God’s love. Reluctance by the Corinthians kept them from realizing God’s full power and blessings.
The Corinthians’ problem can infect today’s people of faith. On life’s journey people encounter waves and wind while ignoring the empowerment of God’s presence. No matter what you endure—sickness or sadness, problems or persecutions—God is with you. Avoid a defeatist attitude during tough times. You and I are not that much different from those ancient Corinthians. As always, the thereat is to allow ourselves to be dragged down by the old, fallen nature. God invites you, me and everyone else to rise above fears and joyfully proclaim God’s love and truth.
As you examine yourself, do you discern a reluctance in responding to God’s Spirit? Could it be that you, like those Corinthians of old, fail to reach full joy? In this manner, Paul and Jesus still speak to all of us. There are no arbitrary limits to the love God wants people to receive and share. There is no speed limit on how much momentum we can achieve, if we strive for God’s kingdom. Even with life’s troubled waters you can call upon God to increase your faith and help overcome drowning in life’s disasters. Are you ready to move beyond your challenges to a place of soul calm in God’s loving care?