Richard Bode in his book “First you have to row a little boat” has this to say about life, “The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.” I shared this quote along with two stories of Jesus in Mark, one with him in the boat and the other with him on the water, with some spiritual companions last Saturday. It seemed to have spoken to the fear and uncertainy of some on their spiritual journey.
I have been thinking about this quote for myself as a man. I don’t think that I am alone in my reluctance to get in the boat and go out to sea. I prefer the shore where it is safe and I am in control. Getting in the boat means a lot of uncertainty. One way I would like to suggest that we as men need to risk getting in the boat is in regard to our relationships. You see we can stay on the shore, be uninvolved emotionally, especially with our wives, attempting to stay in control and make rational sense of the storm. It just will not happen.
What God is wanting us to do is to get out there on the sea, that is, the sea of emotional turbulance, when we encounter an “emotional storm” with our wives. For most men, this is a fearful event, since we have no idea how or when the storm will ease up. But our task, as men is to stay in the boat and ride out the storm. Now take the two stories of Jesus found in Mark 4:35-41 and Mark 6:45-52 and apply them to our being in the storm. In the first passage, Jesus in asleep in the boat with his disciples. So I can take heart that He knows my fear and uncertainty. In The Message the disciples are addressed by the following words, “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” I can easily be a coward when I emotionally turn away from the storm. Jesus wants me to have faith not in my ability to endure the storm, but in His presence with me. I am not supposed to avoid the storm, but stay in the storm, learning how Jesus wants me to respond.
In the second passage, Jesus comes walking on the water during a storm. The text tells us, “He (Jesus) intended to go right by them.” Jesus know full well their fear of the storm. He wanted them to notice His presence in the storm. But they thought it was a ghost. So He tells them, “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” Wow, this is a good word for us as men in the emotional storm. Far to often we think we are all alone in the emotional storm, trying to figure out how to get throught the turbulance. But Jesus is right there saying to us as men, “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” In other words, he is saying, “I know how you feel and what you are going through emotionally. I’m really here with you. Look to me for help to know how to respond properly in the emotional storms. I’m not a ghost. I am here for you.”
So men take courage and be willing to endure the emotional storms in your relationships, especially with your wives. Jesus’ presence is with you. He will help you with the right responses. He will give you the grace and emotional strength to endure and learn from the storms.