Matthew 18:30 (ESV) "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them."
Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote one of my all-time favourite passages, "You were made for this." In it, she compares each person to a great ship, and life to the lakes and oceans upon which we travel.
We face many storms and gales, she writes. The winds of life catch and shake our sails, weakening our will to move forward. The lumber composing the prow and rudder are worn down with the thrush of the sea's mighty waters.
Yet, she says, we are not alone.
There are other ships out on the sea with us, and they are signalling to us. The trees that built the ship come from a larger forest. We, together, are built from these, and we cannot give up in the tenth or the hundredth gale.
Estes passage reminds me of this beautiful - and very often told - story in the gospel of Luke, where the disciples are sailing across a lake to Gerasenes, and they run into this massive storm.
Let's all think of a movie with an epic shipwreck storm scene. Pirates of the Caribbean comes to mind, although I'm not quite sure why. I think there is a storm during the scene with the Kraken..
Nonetheless, there's some serious rain, some serious wind, some serious stormage going on, to the point that the disciples think they're on their death beds. They run downstairs and shout, "Master! Master! We're going to drown!" I can just imagine these men, drenched to the bone, hair in all directions, coming down to figure out an escape route to abandon ship.
It's makes for an even funnier scene because they had to wake up Jesus. Whether he was startled, yawning, or stretching as he awoke, he simply responds to their panicked pleas, "Where is your faith?"
And he commands the water and winds to stop, and they do.
I don't know how many times you've seen someone do that, but I've seen it a grand total of four times.
But it does show the true character and persona of Jesus. Only the creator of the universe could control the elements. And the apostles must have realized this, for they say, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?"
I think it's a good lesson for us though. Just like that storm the disciples went through on the lake, we have a whole bunch of difficulties and hardships that we face throughout our life. We feel overwhelmed, we feel burnt out, we feel alone and scared and helpless.
But here's the catch: God is with you. You are not alone, and he will help you through the challenges of life. All we need to do is have faith.
This is not to say that everything will always work out or that we will always have a perfect happy ending. Only that you are not alone while you go through it. And I could ask for little more than that.
Estes ends her piece on a particularly poignant note that I think concludes much better than I could ever have:
"In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is
that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth,
who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours. They are the words
and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you
will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for."