I wonder if it thundered on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus stood up and told the waves to be still. And when he spoke did the thunder die away gradually, roll away like small marbles across the floor or did it simply cease mid-boom?
A storm moved in during the morning. The air was cool, the lightning cracked and the thunder smacked the heavy gray sky. I wanted to go outside and stand on the wet deck and breathe deeply, but I was reluctant to leave my cocooned dusky sanctuary.
I was afraid if I moved from that calm place the peace would dissipate—like when a butterfly alights on your arm and you remain still because movement will cause it to fly. Like when someone is rubbing your back and you don’t want them to stop, so you remain utterly still because your movement might break the rhythm and they will stop.
I listened to the sounds of preparations for church. I waited for my turn, but I was restless. Shimmering just along the edges of me was something I couldn’t name.
Storms are hushed and sacred places for me.
In the storms stillness pushes past all the inner barriers and descends to the deepest parts of me. Anticipation grows. Eagerness swells. Clarity emerges.
Be still and know that I am God the psalmist urges.
We went to church. Sometimes stillness is hard to achieve and maintain—even at church. Somewhere between the sanctuary of my room and the church sanctuary I lost my sense of stillness. I sat in my chair and my mind kept rolling hard events and words and actions over and over. They were replayed as if they were on a continuous loop. The escalation began. You know exactly what I am describing. Every poor thought led to another and led to another. Avalanching. Snowballing. My emotions built like the milky froth in a latte.
Just when I thought they would overtake me something broke through the storm.
A version of Amazing Grace filtered through the speakers.
And the Spirit of Jesus broke through the froth.
Look at me.
I shook my head.
No, look at me. These emotions and attitudes will overtake you, if you don’t look at me. Take your eyes off them and look at me.
Apparently I still wasn’t looking.
Communion was served. Thunder rumbled. Lightning flashed. And the juice-wine glistened, red and transparent, in its trumpet shaped cup—calling to me.
This wretch sat still.
In that moment that is just exactly what I was—a wretch. A wretch because I wasn’t accepting the amazing grace being offered. A wretch because I wasn’t acknowledging that the Father was willing to absorb all the ugliness that he had recently uncovered in me. A wallowing wretch.
Look. At. Me.
Finally I did. I started thanking him for everything good in my life. And instead of worrying and fretting I began to ask for his help. I asked for wisdom. For provision. For reconciliation. For patience. For love.
And the froth dissipated.
I crunched the bread between my teeth. Ground it to powder and swallowed. Then I poured the juice-wine into my mouth, held, then swallowed. And the bread and the wine coursed through me. His broken body—ground by me. His blood—spilled by me.
Amazing grace—poured for me. Measured out lavishly.
Jesus told the waves to be still and the seasoned fisherman on the boat understood that he was God. He stilled the outer chaos of the storm and they recognized deity disguised in the cloak of flesh. Slack-jawed and wide-eyed, they dropped to their knees onto the salty, sodden planks of the boat.
He repeated with me what he did with his disciples. He called for the storm to be still. He hushed the froth and the foam. And in the midst of my storm I stood slack-jawed and in awe of God’s amazing grace.
When was the last time we stood in the midst of a storm slack-jawed and in awe of what God was doing?
When is the last time you heard him say, “Look. At. Me.” And you obeyed?