Remember the story about Jesus calming the storm? I left out the thing I didn’t want to admit. It’s the part that’s undeniable but makes me squirm: Jesus, being God, has power over the natural world.
I don’t like thinking about or admitting God’s sovereignty.
I know some people are very comforted by it, but to me it’s just troubling. If I admit that God is sovereign over all, then I have to reckon with at least two things. First, all of the things God decides not to fix, heal, and make right. And second, it means I’m not in control.
Of course I know that I’m not *really* in control—that’s the good Sunday school answer. But also, I live almost every moment of every day as if I believe I’m in control. Indeed, I have considerable agency, making loads of decisions every day. I’m embarrassed to confess that I *enjoy* ruling over my little kingdom. But in a grand-scheme-of-things sort of way, God’s the only one with a legitimate kingdom.
Do you remember God’s snarky, long-awaited response to Job in chapter 38? Paraphrasing, God says: “I’m in charge. You thought it was you. But it’s me. It always has been, always will be.”
If that’s so, then why does God sometimes seem asleep or unaware of all hell breaking loose? We want immediate responses, swift action. We talk about kids needing instant gratification, but when we feel fear—regardless of our age— we want something or someone to fix it—like, two minutes ago.
So if Jesus, as God, is sovereign – then why is he sleeping? Jesus should be fixing this storm right now, but he is asleep. There are so many things that God *could* do something about, but doesn’t…
Why are women still being assaulted, dehumanized, and oppressed? Why are children being separated from their parents at our borders, sent to sleep in cages and told not to hug one another? Why are so many precious bellies going to sleep unfed, bodies wasting away? Why hasn’t God put an end to all of our wars and power struggles? How can even one more community endure the tragedy of needless, senseless violence?
We’re not on the other side of all these storms yet. The world still feels chaotic and hurtful and unjust, and at times it can feel like God’s asleep.
And yet, our faith says the end of the story is that God *will* do something about it. God will set all things to right…
God has spoken peace and healing into countless storms, and those give us hope that the current and future storms of life will also be calmed. Things will be set to right.
And Jesus’ word to his disciples all those years ago is his word for us today:
I’m Lord over all. I’m not saying I’ll always choose to change weather patterns, remove diseases, or stop systems of oppression. But as a co-creator of the Earth and all that is in it, I’ve got power over all of it. And I see it.
It won’t always make sense how and when I choose to interrupt and intervene. And I know it will be hard for you when you wish I would break in and do something, but I seem to be asleep. Keep calling on me anyway.
You want deliverance and I do too – but we have different visions about what that looks like and how it’s done. But trust that I know what I’m doing. Keep calling on me anyway.
Have faith that there is a bigger picture than what’s right in front of your face in this moment. Have faith that I’m with you in this storm and keep calling on me.
And when you’re tempted to give up in despair, know this: I feel it too. I felt it in the garden and I still feel it today. I’m not standing at a distance watching the storms spin out of control. I’m weeping with you. I hear you. I see you.
And you likely won’t see it until afterwards, but I’m right here. I’m working with you and others through those storms. Keep calling on me. When panic begins to course through your veins, when anxiety threatens to overtake you, hear my voice saying “peace, be still” and join me in calming the storms.
Just like we can’t live without water, storms are a necessary part of life. What are the storms of your life teaching you? What brings you hope?