Words of Worth

“We’re gonna die!”

July 18, 2017

My Pastor recently preached a message on Luke 8:22-25 which immediately was a memory trigger about two personal lake events, both of which included my friend, Lisa. One memory had to do with the Sea of Galilee, which is really a lake, and the other had to do with a lake in Maine. The memory jogger? Luke 8:24 where the disciples said, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”. Clearly, I am not a gospel writer, but I do have a personal version of “Master, Master, we are perishing!” and it sounds like this, “We’re gonna die!”.

The first jarred memory had to do with a recent trip I made to Israel, which included friend Lisa, and the boat ride our group took on the Sea of Galilee. While the Sea of Galilee is known to have storms rise up suddenly, our group commented how difficult it was to imagine this sea raging with waves and stormy conditions. Our excursion on the Sea was beautiful, bright, and balmy and no one exclaimed, “We are perishing!” or “We’re gonna die!”.

 

 

The second jarred memory also includes Lisa, who is a lot like Jesus in many ways, and apparently a lot like Him when she’s out on a stormy lake. Don’t get me wrong, however, unlike Jesus the winds and water do not obey her! But one summer, Lisa and I were vacationing at her family’s lakeside camp in Maine, and at the strong encouragement (read that as command) of her dear dad, we took his boat out on the lake. It was a beautiful day, but we weren’t planning on going for a boat ride at that moment, but again we were strongly encouraged (read that as commanded) by Lisa’s dad to do so. As we pulled away from the dock, Lisa’s dad threw Lisa’s dog, Skye, into the boat to join us for the lake excursion. So we had a spacious enough boat, comfortable companions on the ride, yet, unknowingly, little gas and a short tow rope.

Lisa decided we were going to span a portion of the lake I had never seen. Not too far into the journey, yet far enough to be away from the safety of the shoreline, I saw behind Lisa’s head what looked like a curtain of rain falling from a blackened sky moving like a locomotive into our sunny tour on the lake. At the moment I questioned Lisa if she thought that storm was coming our way, we ran out of gas and bobbed on the lake like sitting ducks for lightning target practice. Oh, did I mention we did not have any oars? Well we didn’t, and like the disciples before me who thought they were perishing, it was a biblical observation on my part to start chanting, “We’re gonna die!”.

Lisa, the ever calm, Jesus-like person was confident she could rescue us (insert “We’re gonna die!” here) while I, every time she looked away, was flailing my arms and beach towel in the air hoping to SOS signal a speed boat across the lake from us. Catching my drift, in more ways than one, the luxurious speed boat sped to our rescue and tried to tether us to his boat via our sorry excuse for a tow rope (and by the way, his wife was none too happy he was doing this as she murderously sneered at us behind his back-insert “We’re gonna die!” one way or another). Anyway, Lisa told our hero to “drop us off around the bend” and she would jump in the water and pull the boat into the cove (insert “Lisa’s gonna die when she gets struck by lightning in the water!”). I couldn’t believe my ears! Who says that? Just drop us off and I’ll take it from there? Does “We’re gonna die” make more sense now? It would have been perfectly okay with me if our speed racer pulled us all the way to the shore.

However, Lisa won out, our hero dropped us off where she said, he sped to safety across the lake, his wife put away her face gun, and Lisa jumped into the water at the height of the electrical storm and pulled both the boat and passengers to the shore. We quickly abandoned “ship” and ran back to camp, ducking into strangers’ screened- in porches along the way (excuse us but if we don’t break into your cabin and get out of the deluge “We’re gonna die!”). I’m sure my mantra was inspirational and kept us fueled to return to safety, where power outages and downed trees abounded. I had rented a Jeep for this vacation, and Lisa’s Dad, for some unknown reason, had encouraged me (read that as commanded) to move it out of my typical parking space before the boat outing. My typical space was now occupied by a huge fallen tree. But I divert.

So, Luke 8 conjured up all of these memories and my version of, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Interestingly, the account of Jesus calming the storm is also found in Matthew 8 and in Mark 4, and all the key elements of the story are found in all three passages except for this one seemingly small detail found in Mark: Jesus was asleep on a cushion. He was asleep in the boat in Luke and Matthew, but in Mark He was pictured more cozily asleep on a pillow! I think that pillow just adds another layer of how calm Jesus was in the midst of the disciples crying, “We are perishing!”. And really, it’s not about how calm Jesus was; it’s about how calm He wants us to be in the midst of the storms of life, because He’s in control and will bring us safely to the destination He desires for us!

And it is true, when you think about it— “we’re gonna die” someday. One day there will be a final storm and we, His children, will be brought safely home!

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