Even the wind and the waves obey Him

February 4, 2013

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“But the men marvelled, saying, what manner or man is this, that even the waves and the sea obey him”  Matthew 8:27

Jesus had just finished delivering the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7), where He spoke at length to the people delivering proverbs for practical living.  He taught the people how to pray, described the elements for a true fast, encouraged them to seek first the kingdom of God, etc.  As He finishes delivering one of his most profound sermons, He is likely exhausted, but His work is not done.  He is approached by a leper who seeks healing, and in His lovingkindness, He obliges him.  As He approaches Capernaum, He is met by a centurion who seeks a miracle for his servant; and as a result of the centurion’s  faith his servant is healed without even coming in contact with Jesus.  Finally,  Jesus enters into a boat with his disciples and the Bible recounts that a storm arises.  The disciples begin to panic, and fearful for their lives they cry out to Jesus:  “Master, save us for we perish”.  Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith and calms the storm, and the scripture states, “they marveled that even the winds and waves obeyed Him”.

Why were they surprised at Jesus’ ability to calm the storm? They had seen him perform miracles before. They were there when he healed the leper.  They saw how with just a word, he healed the centurion’s servant.  So why were they surprised?  I have two theories :  One: Because the storm was personal. They were the ones in the storm, and oftentimes while we see God do great and marvellous thing in the lives of those around us, we somehow feel that He won’t do the same for us. Two:  Maybe, they felt that although Jesus had power to heal a leper and a centurion’s servant, He wasn’t big enough, powerful enough to calm a storm. They limited God’ ability based on what they were seeing and experiencing at that particular time.

They had witnessed the miracles he had done in the lives of others; yet they didn’t fully acknowledge or believe that He could deliver them.  Other’s yes, but surely not me, they must have thought. Well, Jesus proved them wrong.  He is concerned about ALL His children, and all aspects of our lives, from the seemingly mundane to the “life changing” decisions we face.

This time of year can be full of angst for pre-health students as they eagerly await acceptance letters, wonder if they’ll ever get off the waiting list, and start to question whether their life dream is in alignment with God’s purpose.  Can God help me get in?  Can God show me what direction to go next if the acceptance letter doesn’t come?  Oh ye of little faith!   Just like He did for the disciples; if you just believe, you will see that He not only can, but He will!  Be encouraged, He will never leave you or forsake you!

Happy Monday!


Just Jump!

August 2, 2012

It’s 7:05 am in the morning and you realize that you had set your alarm for 6am. So you throw the comfy covers off, jump out of bed, dive into the shower, and land in your garage by 7:17am; new record! As you get ready to turn the key and start the car, you notice the raised, red, semaphore flag on your mailbox. Usually you would wait until you came back from work to check the mail – but today felt different. You knew there was something particularly strange about the way that flag stood. So you hope out of the car, walk toward the mailbox, and slowly pull down the opening into that mailbox. After looking at the return address you realize that never have you received a letter from this part of the world. Few people do.

You take a moment to stare at this letter that has been carefully flown across the Atlantic Ocean that it may land in your hands.  Excitedly, you rip through the envelope to discover its contents. I mean, it’s not everyday you receive a letter from the Buckingham palace.

“Dear [insert name here]

We would like to cordially invite you to the Prince’s wedding and humbly request that you bake a cake for the occasion. We will need to have the cake by May 31. Thank you in advance for your willingness to assist us in this monumental event.

Sincerely,

[Queen’s signature]”

This would be a good representation of how I felt as I prepared for the MCAT. Somehow I had to master material in a way I’d never imagined so that I’d be able to execute and deliver when the date arrived. Naturally, cortisol and norepinephrine seared through my plasma at the thought. However I remembered that God is a finisher. When He decides to do something He sees to its completion. And this would be no different. Thankfully my parasympathetic fibers started firing . So I got the mixing bowl out and got to work.

I decided to work through the material by subject. Some choose to set a certain amount of time to study each day. I knew myself enough to know that I’d have a difficult time studying with this strategy; I get too easily distracted. So I decided that I’d determine what chapters I’d like to study in that particular day and didn’t stop until I had completed going over the material. This way, even though I might’ve gotten distracted at 4:30pm, I still came back at 7pm to study till I finished covering the material.

I planned to take AAMC practice tests at least once a week. After I took the second one I realized that I had a particular weakness with verbal reasoning. So I bench lifted the hefty “101 passages” book from Examkrackers, let it fall on the table with a booming thud, then got to work. My plan was to do 1 full, hour-long verbal test each day and I increased it to two full verbal tests within 2 weeks of test day.

To my dismay the plan didn’t seem to work. Although my science scores were improving, my verbal score seemed to stubbornly stick on the descending escalator. I felt like I had ran out of sugar for the cake and the date was rapidly approaching. After a few more pushes, with no significant results, I got on my knees and surrendered. This felt like the thorn in the flesh Paul was talking about in second Corinthians. So, like him, I decided to “glory in my infirmities so that the power of Christ may rest on me.”

T – 17 hours to the test and I was in the car on my way down to Birmingham, AL. We were spending the night at my uncle’s place before the test. I went to sleep early and had a terribly hard time sleeping. It was like the brakes to my brain just gave out. I guess I must’ve driven off the road or something because all I remember was waking up the next day. My test was at 1pm and I had woken up at 7am. Those 6 hours felt like a year and a half.  To calm down I sat and had devotion. I was reading from Max Lucado. The devotion was unnaturally fitting for that day. Max was describing an instance with her five year-old daughter. She was hopping up and down on the bed telling her father to move further and further away from the bed. When Max felt like he was “across the grand canyon” she was satisfied. Then she took off into the air.

This is exactly what I had to do – jump. As I tasted my not-as-sweet-as-I-would-like cake I had to believe that God would do something with it. He’s already done so many things in the past, all so that He could show me the mountain-range sized veins protruding from his biceps. Why should I be afraid? Why should I doubt His lovingkindness? Why should I lose faith in His mighty power to save?

So I jumped.