All is (not) lost

lake-boatIn 2013, Robert Redford starred as the only cast member in the film “All is Lost.” In this brilliantly made and highly acclaimed movie, Redford plays an unnamed man, navigating a boat in the ocean on a solo voyage. As the story begins, a man is lost at sea. He says, “I’m sorry. I know that means little at this point, but I am. I tried. I think you would all agree that I tried. To be true, to be strong, to be kind, to love, to be right, but I wasn’t.” He declares, “All is lost.” At one point in the film, a storm overtakes his vessel and…well, I don’t want to give anything away in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Most people know that I’m a man of faith. My desire is to pursue God through the life of Jesus. Almost thirty years ago, after considering the other options out there, Jesus just made the most sense to me. I admit that sometimes those who follow Jesus don’t make a lot of sense to me. Please accept my apologies on their behalf, but I can’t do anything about that really. Jesus, however, makes a ton of sense to me and he’s made a huge difference in how I see the world around me.

One of my favorite accounts from Jesus’ life is found in the Gospel of Mark in the Bible (you can also read about it in Matthew’s Gospel, but I like the one in Mark better). Jesus gathers some of his buddies into a boat and they head out to cross a lake. They must have been at it for a while because Jesus has some time to take a nap. During their journey, a storm blows through the area:

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?’

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, ‘Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?’

The disciples were absolutely terrified. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘Even the wind and waves obey him!'” Mark 4.35-41 NLT (see also Matthew 8.23-27)

I happen to believe this is a true story and while it’s pretty freakin’ amazing unto itself, there’s a bigger lesson here.

Jesus’ friends — who had been following him and were starting to get an idea of what he is capable of — were terrified when the storm rose up around them. They couldn’t believe Jesus was sleeping through this life-threatening situation. I almost wonder if, after waking him up, Jesus was a little frustrated. I can imagine him saying, “Really? I’m trying to get some rest here and you wake me up for a little rain?”

The way I see it, I have two options when storms rise up around me. I can take a cue from the disciples and panic and think all is lost. Or, I can remember that Jesus has everything under control and find great comfort and peace in that. I can focus on the raging storm around me or dial in to the man who controls the very source of the storm.

I’m currently in the middle of a “life storm” right now and my time with God brought this story about Jesus to mind. I figure if Jesus can take a snooze in the middle of what would otherwise be seen as a life-threatening matter, then he’s got this. He’s got me.

A lot of people around me have wondered how I can respond as I am. It’s because “even the wind and waves obey him!”

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