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In the Midst of Chaos

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The story of David and Goliath from 1

Samuel 17 was a great start to our scripture readings on Sunday. With the children gathered on the chancel steps, we read the entire story from start to finish. The young disciples were on the edge of their seats when they heard that the small shepherd boy took off Saul’s armor and headed to face off with the Philistine warrior Goliath. David had such confidence he didn’t need the armor.  As he said, “The battle belongs to the Lord.”

Wouldn’t it be great if we had the faith and assurance of David marching into the field of battle with nothing but five smooth stones he had chosen from the wadi and the slingshot he always carried with him?

But our attempts at confronting our fears or our “Giants” is a little more like the disciples in the boat on the sea of Galilee when the storm rose up:

On that day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd behind, [the disciples] took him with them in the boat, just as he was. Other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41)

There was no confidence and no faith on the part of the disciples. In the midst of the chaos of the storm, they did pretty much exactly what we find ourselves doing:

  1. We recognize the chaos/storm and. . . Panic!
  2. Try to handle it ourselves (I imagine the first response of the disciples was to begin to bail out the boat; they were career fishermen weren’t they?).
  3. Recognize we had better cry out to God (the disciples woke up Jesus saying, “Don’t you even care?!”).  Our cry is a bit like that “God, where are you? Don’t you care?”
  4. We are filled with awe when things work out — we find ourselves surprised that God has been with us in the boat all along.

Jesus asked the disciples, “Why are you afraid?” We could ask ourselves the same thing, “Why are we afraid?”  Of course an easy answer would be: LIFE.  We’re afraid because real life — death — disease — illness — crime — violence — real life stuff rains down on us all the time. It’s been a long time for most of us to be able to rush into battle our giants with only those things God has prepared us with. David’s confidence in God is stunning; the disciples’ doubt is so much more realistic. But when Saul placed upon David the heavy armor (built not for a child but for King Saul), David realized God had already prepared him through years of picking up rocks, aiming them in his slingshot just right, and then letting fly the blessed and chosen stone.  Had he walked into the battle with that heavy armor on, he certainly would have perished: his faith would have been in the sword rather than in God.

In the midst of chaos, my prayer for you is that the first thing you do is cry out to God for help. Go ahead and bypass the panic and the crazy attempts to bail out your own boat (or put on the big and heavy armor that was not made for you), and move to the awe-inspired “How has God prepared me for this and how will we beat this giant together?”

And then let fly your blessed and chosen stone with assurance.

 

In Peace,

 

Rev. P

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