Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.
Mark 4:36 (NIV)
As she reads Mark 4:36-19, I listen intently. At first, the first word lingers: “Leaving…” Jesus is leaving the crowd behind.
She reads the passage again.
I move with her this time. With Jesus.
I feel the wind, the cold air blowing on the disciples, as they leave safety behind, heading into a storm, one not of their own making.
Where is Jesus? Asleep? Of all things. In the back of the boat.
Anger arises. Doesn’t he know—or worse—doesn’t he care? They are in danger! Their very lives hang on the mercy of wind and water.
Or on Jesus.
Jesus. Don’t you care? I’ve left the crowds for you. Am I in danger now? Are you really sleeping?
I’ve heard the story before. So many times. I know what happens next.
But I listen again. A third reading. This time takes me beyond. It’s no longer just a story of historical facts, of Jesus’ commanding power over nature.
Now it’s an invitation.
To me from him.
I take it personally.
The winds and the waves may splash, soaking me in an angry torrent. But is there a safer place to be than traveling with Jesus?
Even when I’m not sure where we’re going.
Even when I think he’s sleeping.
He’s still in control.
Peace, O soul. Be still.
I shiver again, this time in awe at his supremacy, appreciating the authority behind his words, imagining what they meant to his followers on that journey, knowing what they mean to this follower on mine.
Oh, the grace. Oh, the freedom.
- If Jesus is with me, I’ll leave behind my comfort.
- If Jesus is with me, no tempest can shake my grip.
- If Jesus is with me, calling peace, I’ll be still and receive.
I yield to his command.
My soul settles into the quiet, the stillness, on this peaceful side of leaving.Regardless of my new destination, my passage is secure—I’m journeying in the boat with Jesus.
I’ll stay the course.
Instead of rereading the words of the story that changed lives then—“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”—and changes lives now, she invites us to talk of them. To keep the conversation going between Father and child, between brothers and sisters.
I pray for her, my new friend. Another new friend prays for me. He whispers words in silence for my journey of leaving, yet traveling in safety with Jesus, for staying the course.
In such stillness, there is peace.
I am still.
He is my peace.
* * *
The Bible story is an invitation. Don’t just read it. Take it personally. Keep the conversation going.
Listening to his stories still move us. What story has taught you anew lately?
revised from the archives
- Is the Church Living Up to Its Name?
- When Transformation Seems Slow, Don’t Eat the Change