My talk at the National Youth Gathering was entitled “Relax and Be a Christian”. When people asked what my talk was about, I told them that the gist of the talk was “Stahhhhp…..just stoppppp…” Sometimes we need to be told to stop, to relax, and to recognize that Jesus has this all under control.
But stopping is difficult. There’s a reason that we neglect to stop, there’s a reason we neglect to relax. Our worlds seem like they’re going to fall apart. This week, as I try to catch up from things that developed in the two weeks I was gone, as I try to prepare for a week where I’m going to go away again on a “vacation” that will remain in quotes if I don’t get x, y, and z done — I have to admit that I don’t trust that God has this under control.
In my talk I told the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark 4. In the story, the disciples wake a sleeping Jesus and say “Don’t you care that we are perishing?!?!?!” That is my question of Jesus so often. “Lord, don’t you care that I have an article to write for the newsletter, another article that I agreed to write for Lutheran Hour Ministries, people who are shut in, people who are shut out, a sermon to write sometime before late Saturday night, a campus ministry that feels like it’s going to fall apart, a church that . . . .DON’T YOU CARE, JESUS??!!?”
Our things are real. The storm was very real to the disciples. They had seen boats go down in storms like these before. They had lost friends. This was real. Our things are real too: the relationship that seems irreparable this week when last week it seemed like it was fine; the shootings in Orlando, Dallas, and all over the world; a dead French priest attacked by ISIS . . . .DON’T YOU CARE JESUS??!?!
It’s a familiar story, so I’m sure you know the way it turns out. Jesus gets up, and after rubbing His eyes, joins in on the hysteria. He starts barking orders: “Andrew, get that bucket and start bailing water. Peter, I taught you how to do that walking on water thing, get out of the boat and start pushing. James and John, you’re the “Sons of Thunder”, I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but whatever it is…stop it.”
That’s not the way the story really goes, by the way. The story really goes like this: Jesus gets up, He rebukes the wind and the waves, and says “Peace. Be still.” In our parlance today, Jesus says “Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….”
Do we dare believe that this is what He’s telling us today? That in response to our sometimes angry and always hysterical questions of “don’t You care,” Jesus is saying, “Shhhh…..Peace. Be still.” Do we dare believe that Jesus could work a miracle in our lives that would calm the wind, rebuke the waves? Is that what He is inviting us to consider day after day?
There’s a whole other part of my talk that is about working from a place of rest, but I’m not going to get into that today. Today I’m just going to leave you with Jesus’ “Gospel Shhhhhh”. Let Jesus shush you tonight. He knows that what you’re going through is real, but He has it under control. He will get you out of this, He died on the Cross so he could. He cares. He cares so very much. He just wants you to hear Him say to you tonight, “Peace. Be still. Shhhhhh….”