Cheating Death

With the war in Israel on everyone’s minds these past few days, many are wondering why God allows such violence. If God is all powerful, He could (and should) stop such horrific events from taking place. Since God doesn’t stop all violence, then we must accept there is a different perspective through which we should view the world.

At that time, Jesus entered a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out, and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a storm of wind came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even wind and water, and they obey him?”

Luke 8.22-25

In today’s Gospel we hear that God was willing to rebuke the sea and stop a storm. Did Christ calm the storm to keep the boat from sinking? Clearly, since He is God, He was in no danger from a sinking boat. His rebuke of the disciples, “Where is your faith?” was meant to draw them closer to Himself. His rebuke of the sea was to help them see the truth of Who He was.

Having faith in God doesn’t mean that we ‘believe’ He can stop storms. If the disciples didn’t believe Jesus could stop the storm, they would never have woken Him up. Having faith in God means that even if we die in a storm, we will die with Him. Jesus was calling them to a deeper understanding, “Who then is this?” This is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The purpose of today’s lesson isn’t to encourage us to ask God to stop every storm in our life. Naturally, we ask for His protection. Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, our host parish for Be Transfigured Ministries, has a long-standing history of invoking God’s protection from hurricanes. Asking for His protection doesn’t end with winds and waves, or even war.

Asking for God’s protection is more about the condition of our soul, than about the weather. We ask for God’s protection so that we have more time to repent. The Church encourages us to live as if we will die today, whether from weather or any other circumstances.

If our soul is prepared for judgment, then storm or not we can face God. The problem is we only think about judgment when we are ‘about’ to die. A storm is bearing down, and we remember we aren’t ready for judgment, so we panic. “Master, Master, we are perishing!”

We cannot cheat death. It will come one way or another. It will come one day for sure. It would be better if we were prepared so we wouldn’t need to panic. As human beings we prepare for so many possibilities in our life, but we don’t prepare to die.

Stop asking God to stop the storm so you can get to work and make more money. Starting asking God to help you repent so when the storm comes, you will be ready.

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