#1. The Boat and the Storm
Oreos are being tossed around like no bodies business, and that’s not just your stomach. You were never supposed to rely on that job for your self-worth. You were not supposed to rely on him or her for your value. You were not supposed to rely on that retirement account for your security.
You were just meant to be THANKFUL.
The storm is laughing in your face, as it rips your tiny boat apart; a boat that was very stable and seemingly reliable only a few moments before. There’s nothing you can do. The storm is too strong and you have no way of ending it before your boat gets ripped to shreds.
*I’ve been mesmerized by the cross-over symbolism in my own life, to that of Peter’s experience of walking on water with Jesus during a huge storm in his own life.
Back in the Comfort Zone
The disciples were in their comfort zone, back in a fishing boat, after a very busy day with Jesus, probably hoping for some well-deserved rest. Jesus goes up to pray as he needs to rejuvenate himself via time with God. While Jesus is away, a big storm hits and the disciples even fear for their lives.
Read more about it: Matthew 14:22-33
The Boat is the Blessing
I think the boats in our lives are also the blessings and comforts God gives us that we are meant to enjoy and have a response of joy and thanks towards God for his good gifts. A response of joy and thanks, is not a response of reliance or a grip of control.
In my mind, the “boats” are often the very things that we rely on most easily because we can see and feel them, unlike God himself. These then turn into the securities, comforts, and sources of self-worth that are somewhat consistent and stable in our life—at least so far. Sometimes these are not challenged for years in our lives, so it’s easy to get lulled into believing they are something they are not: RELIABLE, never-changing, a sure thing; even God-like. Or…maybe we think we are God-like when we have all of these things surrounding us in our great state of comfort and forged self-reliance.
There’s nothing like a storm to bring about some humbleness.
Suggestions on Old Securities and Self-Sufficient Strengths:
- Our looks
- A Parent
- Peoples’ Opinions
- Our Intelligence
- Work ethic
The Storm Challenges
In my mind, the storm symbolizes all that comes against us in life—the difficulties, struggles, changes, challenges, losses. At any time, any of what we are relying on can be challenged or taken away. I think God allows these struggles and storms to crop up when we get too comfortable in our boats or when we turn the wooden boats (or blessings) in our lives, into idols (anything that comes before God). The storm proves just how unreliable and unstable our boats are, and how limited in providing true security.
I think God is ultimately calling us to himself through the storms, and lets face it, we all face our different storms.
These storms seem to come in different shapes and sizes, but they have such a similar effect. They strip us of our self-reliance, unhealthy habits, and they beg us to cry out to God for His simple mercy.
Living long enough, we each find ourselves surrounded by an old way of being, thinking, or loving that is going up in flames. In that unexpected moment, we usually find ourselves full of fear, feeling trapped by our an old way of life coming in on us. But this is the passage of rebirth that we must move through if our lives are to unfold. It is this momentary and painful crossing from what is old into what is new. - Mark Nepo
Sometimes we are only hopeful for God’s mercy at these moments when we are gripped by fear and our little boat is weathering the storm. Sometimes God calls us out of our little boat-of-comfort, to do something wondrous, miraculous — something we could never do on our own — to walk on water with Him for just a moment.
Conducting is like holding a small bird. If you hold on too tightly you crush it. If you hold it too loosely it flies away. -Sir Collin Davis
Can We Face the Complexity
The question remains, can we face this complexity of holding on to what we love without a death-grip? Can we remain thankful and grateful, enjoying what God provides us without creating these things into idols? Can we hold, protect, appreciate while at the same time giving that thing/person the freedom to change or even leave us?
I love how Brené Brown explains this as vulnerability. It’s this flexible place of living where you are lightly holding all that’s good without crushing it or letting it fly away like the brid in Sir Collin Davis’ quote above. This creates in us a flexibility we have never known before, a trusting in God that gives us dancing hearts.