Where have you gone?
Will you ever come back?
Why did you leave us?
Growing up, I always enjoyed reading the story where Jesus calms the storm that threatened to sink the boat carrying him and his disciples. For me, there is something about the imagery of Jesus, getting up from his posture of rest, and silencing the wind and the waves with simply his voice, that brings me an incredible amount peace. As I have grown older, I have learned to appreciate another side to this story. In the gospel of Mark, the author records a short, but very important, interaction with his followers. After calming the storm, Jesus turns to his disciples and asks, “How can you be so afraid? After all you have seen, where is your faith?”
“After all you have seen, where is your faith?”
I feel like those words could be spoken to me every hour of every day recently. When I think about the absence of peace in my life, I can usually trace that feeling to an absence in my faith. When I am not at peace in my heart, or in my mind, I am not in the presence of God. When my mind is racing and I start to challenge and question every move or motive in my life, I am not in the presence of God.
When I am not in the presence of God, I am not at peace.
In the story above, it is easy to focus the attention on the calming of the physical storm. But what about the individual feelings of distress, fear and worry the disciples where experiencing? I think those emotions, given the context of the story, could also be considered “storms.” When I look at this story from this perspective, I truly see Jesus as the giver of peace. I feel the need to ask myself, “After all I have seen (experienced, lived through, lost, gained), where is my faith?
This is the unacknowledged gift of peace.
Our peace should come from the comfort of Jesus asking, “After all you have seen, where is your faith?” This subtle question is a provocative reminder that our lives will not always be peaceful. We can choose to be afraid of that, or we can choose to live with faith. I believe it is questions, and stories like the one from Mark, that give context to Jesus as a true figure of peace. His presence today may not be able to calm the storms or atrocities that seem to be happening daily, but His spirit can remind us that we have hope. This hope should bring us peace. As the second week of Advent begins, bring more of the peace of Jesus into your life through the guided meditation provided here.
Read week 1 of the Advent series, Lament, by clicking this link. You can find the introduction to this, series, In Preparation; A 4 Week Meditation Series for Advent, by clicking here.
*If you are finding you are having a hard time focusing during the meditation, repeat the lines from the opening of this post quietly in your mind as you meditate. This might help keep you focused.