Uncertain. That’s the word that I’ve used to describe my life as the Raleigh Fellows Program is coming to a close. Uncertain of what job I’ll have; uncertain of where I’ll be living; uncertain of who I’ll be after this program is over. For some reason, the uncertainty of life has been pressing harder on me than anything else at this stage.
Mark 4:35-41 tells a cool story about Jesus and his friends. The story is that Jesus is tired after a long time healing the sick and being around a crowd of people so he asks his closest friends to go across a lake with him so that they can get away from the crowd and rest. While Jesus’s friends are sailing across the water, a huge storm comes up. As the friends are trying to keep the boat afloat, they find Jesus sleeping in the stern! They wake him and ask, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Then Jesus tells the waves and the wind, “Quiet! Be still!” And the wind and waves died down and it was completely calm.
Can you imagine? You’re in a boat with your friends and all of a sudden you’re caught in a storm that’s so bad you’re afraid that you’re going to die. It’s all hands on deck to keep the boat from capsizing and you see one of your friends sleeping to the side. “Jesus, don’t you care if we drown?” I would have asked the same thing if I had been in the boat. In fact, I have asked Jesus that question, a lot lately. Jesus, don’t you care that my life is so uncertain? That I’m overwhelmed and apprehensive?
And then Jesus said to his friends, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
Before Jesus and his friends had gotten on the boat to go across the lake, Jesus had been teaching the people and healing the sick and performing all kinds of miracles. And yet in their time of panic, Jesus’s friends so quickly forget the cool, powerful things he’s done. Just like me. If Jesus’s friends could have taken a step out of the panic of the present and looked back at the ways Jesus had come through for them in the past, I don’t think they would’ve asked the question, “Don’t you care if we drown?” I think they would’ve woken him and said, “Jesus, please help us.” I see how I get so caught up in the moment that it’s hard for me to look back at the ways that Jesus has been there for me, which is pretty selfish if you think about it. It’s not all about me! It’s about Jesus and that whether I believe it or not, he’s in control of all things. And if I look back at my life, I can affirm that to be true. Yes, Jesus might be sleeping at times, things might get out of hand and life might feel overwhelming, but even so, nothing is out of his control. Yes, I still wonder, “Why did the storm come? Why was Jesus sleeping in the first place? Why didn’t he stop the storm sooner?” But what I am certain of is that Jesus didn’t let his friends down and he has come through for me every time, so why would he stop now?
So now I want to say thank you. Thank you Jesus for friends who have supported me and loved me in the way I needed it most this year. For our teachers who sacrifice their time to share with us more about what your design is for work and for our life as a whole. For my host family who has sacrificed time and money to provide a safe space for me to come home and rest. For my mentor who has walked alongside me offering encouragement and wisdom. For the fellows committee who has worked behind the scenes to bring all aspects of this program together. For Ashley, who has been a bold leader as well as deep companion to us all this year. For the Apostles community for making us a part of the family from the very beginning. For nine months to spend learning about who you are and who you made me to be. I'm certain that we'll continue to wrestle through this in the lifetime to come, but we'll do it together. Thank you Jesus.