God's Great Calm
And he [Jesus] awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm (Mark 4:39 ESV). Today at International Lutheran Church we are made awake on this Fourth Sunday after Pentecost by the Great Calm that God speaks into the tempest of our lives in and through His Son Jesus Christ.
To be honest all three of our Bible lessons for this weekend are a bit unnerving. Job gets put in his place after finally obtaining an audience with God (Job 38), the disciples are questioned on where their faith is as Jesus commands the wind and waves (Mark 4), and we are called to open wide our hearts along with the Corinthians by the Apostle Paul who understood that the Christian life is not all roses (2 Corinthians 6). All three of these lessons in the end point out how easily we can feel overwhelmed by the distress of life – even to the point where we question God’s authority and action in our lives. Like Job, we may feel unfair at our suffering. Like the disciples, we may question Jesus’ own concern for our situation and like the Corinthians, we may have a hard time trusting others after having been hurt before.
But when we take this track with God, we can certainly expect the response that Job, the disciples and the Corinthians got. We can and are put in our place as we see that it is God alone who draws the line and sets the rules, who commands the wind and waves and has opened His very heart to us. This is God’s Law at work in our lives to bring us to where we need to be - ready to hear the Gospel. Yes, God does not leave us in our despair but instead reveals just where we can go for shelter in the midst of the greatest “storm” of life - our own sin and death. God alone can speak His great calm into our lives.
The radical ordinary way of things in Mark’s Gospel actually help us to see how ultimately God is in our lives to save us – how He has come to speak His calm into our lives. Jesus is brought into the boat and carried to the other side like any other passenger, and yet unlike others he sleeps through storms. His way is the storm and the whirlwind (Nahum 1:3). Jesus is the only Man who can respond to the questions God puts to Job. He is God. When the disciples wake Him from His slumber, what was their expectation? What is our expectation? He has come to open wide His heart and give His life for our own. He has thrown Himself into the whirlwind of our sin and death and on the cross, He brings us God’s great calm – the forgiveness of our sin and eternal life with Him.
Just as the disciples were unnerved at Jesus’ authority and called to put their faith in Him, He is here this morning to save. Jesus is not sleeping but calling us to awaken from our slumber of sin, and closed hearts. He beckons us to put all our hope on Him for He does care for you and me. He cares that we are perishing and so He is here today to offer us the calm of sins forgiven, peace with Him and the assurance of His presence in our lives.
That Peter and the others would not hesitate to share openly at their embarrassing lack of faith is testimony to the power of the Spirit to speak into and through our lives today. It is not that we live a life of calm and ease, but that God is with us in Jesus. And just as Jesus spoke that night and the wind and waves listened to Him, this great calm is spoken into our lives by our Risen Savior and brings us to faith in Him knowing that we need not fear but can trust in His eternal presence. Just as God speaks that calm into our lives, He also speaks through the distress we face to bring His calm into the lives of others. Job, Peter, Paul, and so many others before us have faced troubles in their lives. Like them we do so in faith that God who commands the wind and waves also is with us now in the person of His Son to save.