Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Good News for Hard Times Week 1: Jesus Calms the Storm

I'm so happy that Wednesday Bible study is back this week.  This spring we are learning to tell six Bible stories about people going through hard times.

Sometimes when I find myself in a conversation with someone going through a really hard thing, I don't know what to say.  (I do NOT have the spiritual gift of mercy.)  I really want to fix their hard thing for them, but of course I can't.  So I just find myself saying, "I'm sorry."  "Gosh, I'm really sorry."  "I'm soooo sorry."

When I'm going through a hard thing, I really hate it when people tell me platitudes like, "You'll be stronger for it" or "God never gives us any more than we can handle."  That one's particularly not true.  Everything is more than we can handle.  I think that's kind of the point of the Bible, and why we need Jesus.

When I'm going through a hard thing, though, it does help to know that others have been through something hard.  It helps to know that they, too, were chickens or complainers or wondered if God cared at all about them, or if he was just busy with Africa right now.

This is one reason I love Bible storytelling.  I don't have to tell you how to feel or think.  I can just say, "Wow, that's like the time when this happened and God did that."  The most important thing I can tell you during a hard time is that you're not alone, and that this is what God is like and can do.

When we process a story together in our group, we think about these questions together:

  • What did you like about this story?
  • What bothered you or left you with questions?
  • What does this story tell you about God?
  • What does this story tell you about people?
  • What does this story tell you about how life with God works?
  • If this story is true, what do you need to do in response?
These are good questions to think about together, even if you and I are just having a conversation about your hard time or my hard time.

This week's story is about a hard time that comes up suddenly.  You know, those things that take you by complete surprise, you didn't see them coming?  There's something about being afraid suddenly that causes you to lose your bearings and forget everything you thought you knew and counted on. A huge wave of emotions.  A harsh wind of change.  A storm of circumstances.

In this week's story, Jesus calms the storm.  I've heard this story told since I was a little girl in Sunday School.  I heard this story told just a few weeks ago on a boat on the Sea of Galilee, where it happened.  I learned that the ancient people believed that gods and demons were behind the natural elements.  So it's no coincidence that the gospel writers put this story smack in the middle of a lot of other stories about demons.  Jesus speaks to the storm the same way he spoke to demons.  The same way he rebuked Peter when he said, "Get behind me, Satan!"

What does that tell you about Jesus?

Then he turns to the disciples and asks, "Why do you keep on being afraid?"

What does that tell you about people?

What does this story tell you about life with God?  

Click here to listen to the story and learn it.  

You can read it in Mark 4:35-42, Matthew 8:23-27 and Luke 8:22-25.

Here's the most important question we ask every week:
  • Who will you tell this story to?

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