by Kelly Godzwa
My morning meditation was entitled, “Finding Courage in the Storm.” It was certainly appropriate and timely given the state of our world and the “storm” that is COVID-19 with its effects. You see, I decided to read the book Meeting God in Scripture by Jan Johnson, which contains forty guided meditations, during Lent this year. As I read Chapter 21 and the passage from Mark 4:35-41, I followed some of the author’s suggestions—thinking of a time when God calmed your fears, reading and rereading the passage, understanding certain words or phrases a bit more deeply, picturing the scene, placing yourself in the story, etc.
I thought back to a time last year when anxiety came over me as Dave and I sat in a bank in Mexico working through the steps to get the money from the sale of our vehicle that was in the Mexican bank transferred to a US account. Even though we went through correct protocol, one glitch after another seemed to arise. There we waited—not in control of the situation and powerless to do anything about it, but not really able to leave or distract our minds with something else. How hard can it be? They’re a bank! Don’t they do things like this every day? What if the money is stuck here? What if. . .? As fear rose in me, the Holy Spirit reminded me of an exercise to name the things I was feeling, thinking, and doing. I found paper in my purse and began writing. Frustration had turned into worry. But, what did I believe about God? What was true in my situation? Who, but God, could turn this situation around OR give me peace in the midst of it?
As I read this story Mark writes about Jesus’ disciples—with Him asleep in the boat when a storm suddenly springs up—I have to smirk a bit as I picture it. The first thing I realized is that the disciples must have been furiously working to scoop water out and man the sails when someone notices that Jesus isn’t helping! How could Jesus sleep at a time like this? We’re all going to drown! “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?” It seems as if they just wanted His help, but He appeared to be oblivious to their peril. Then much to their surprise when He does gets up, He doesn’t grab a bucket. He speaks. However, he speaks not to them, but to the wind and the waves! “Be quiet! Be still!”
When I read this passage aloud, tears came to my eyes. Although a different type of anxiety from what I felt while sitting at the bank, there is fear in the hearts and minds of many of us as we face the unknown—the storm with its effects. Perhaps, like the disciples, we are scooping out water, lowering the sails, and trying to lessen the severity of the consequences. Our frustration turns to worry, and we wonder if God is asleep. Why won’t He help? But. . .what do we believe about God? What is true in our situation? Who, but God, can turn this situation around OR give us peace in the midst of it?
Let’s name our fears. What are we thinking, feeling, & doing? How does that align with the fact that Jesus has power over wind and waves? Might He have power over viruses, too? Our fears are not silly or small; it just helps to readjust our perspective in light of what we know to be true about our God. Do we have faith in Him? He doesn’t tend to work like we want Him to or when we think He should, but when He does act, we will be in awe, reminded again of Who loves us and sees us, even at our most vulnerable moments.
Kelly and her husband, Dave, have served as SOMO missionaries to Mexico since 2006. While they have recently moved into the role of Mexico Area Directors, she remains active online as publisher of the Refresh Newsletter and is a part of the District's Connect Refresh groups. They have 2 college-age children, a son in high school and a miniature schnauzer. disciplemexico.org