I am stuck with the relevance of the story of Jesus coming to the disciples on the water during a storm in Mark 6:45-52. It a wonderful metaphor for men who find themselves in the midst of inner storms when things don’t go so well in personal relationships. It can feel like chaos inside, because we are not able to manage our unrully emotions. We don’t like to be out of control, not knowing how to handle on our emotions. So we try to ignore avoid them or at least control the chaos. But the price we pay is that of having our emotions become our enemy rather then our friend. To befriend our emotions is welcome them as servants, helping us to have meaningful relationship with others. Relationships have much more to do with heart and head alone. But we have to deal with the fear of exposure of our hearts
The story tells us that they were “in the middle of the lake” where “the wind was against them.” The disciples were “straining at the oars.” What a picture of our inner chaos in the moments of emotional tension with others. We are in the middle of a “inner storm” “straining so hard to get out of the situation. Then Jesus comes, not stopping to help, but seeming to pass by. Why? Could it be that he is waiting for us to realize that he is right there in the storm and to cry out for help. We often don’t know he is there. We only have a mental picture of Jesus, that is, he is like a ghost, not really able to help. A mental picture but not a true soul friend who can help from the inside out.
They cry out to him terrified because they don’t recognize Jesus. Likewise we often don’t recognize Jesus in midst of our inner storms. The best we can do is cry out because we are terrified by this inner storm. Because they cried out, Jesus responds by getting into the boat. Similarly Jesus waits for our cry so that he can be in the boat with us. The Message puts it this way. “Jesus was quick to comfort them: ‘Courage. It’s me. Don’t be afraid.'” Wow, there are times when I need to hear those words. Have courage, Al. Stay in the storm. Don’t live in denial. Jesus is in the storm with me. He lets me know – “It’s me.” This can give me courage to let him straighten out the storm. I don’t have to be afraid.
The take away from this story can be of encouragement to men. We might not always know why there is a Storm on the insid but we can be confident that Jesus will be there in the midst of the storm. I need to recognize that Jesus is with me. Once he is in the boat the wind dies down. Have I gotten some new understanding regarding my emotions when Jesus is invited into my boat? Maybe some. But what is most important is the realization again that Jesus is in the storm. Only he has the insight into how to tame my unruly emotions and replace them with the fruit of the Spirit.