I was reading Mark 4 today. You remember Mark 4? Jesus tells a bunch of parables:
- The sower (who sowed the word and the seed on good ground brought forth abundantly)
- The light under a bushel (the one about being responsible for what you hear…)
- The kingdom of God is like a man who sows a seed and while he waits, it grows
- The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed (starts so small and becomes large enough for birds to nest)
Then Jesus fell asleep in the boat as he and his disciples crossed to the other side. The a whopper of a storm came and was swamping the boat. How terrifying!
The disciples woke Him up asking why he didn’t care that they were perishing.
Jesus calmly rebuked the wind and told the sea, “Peace, be still.” And it was so.
Then he asked them why it was that they were afraid and had so little faith?
What did the wind and the waves swamping the boat have to do with faith? Usually I will study a passage out. I love good hermeneutics with historical context, word study, scriptural context, etc. It seemed to me that today this passage was calling for more.
A passage like this has much to say at a spirit level, a heart level. Simple study won’t teach me why Jesus fussed at his fearful disciples just because they were about to drown. So I did a Lectio Divina (click here for one way to employ this Benedictine prayer practice).
Lectio Divina is a way to allow Scripture itself to become prayer. One prays as one reads, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach through the Word and at times, sanctified imagination. Often I find enlightenment or inspiration as I read prayerfully.
Today I began to understand that as I allow my heart to be good ground for the seed of God’s Word, that I can become fruitful by His work in me. His work causes natural spiritual growth. And when I am allowing God’s kingdom to grow in and through me, perhaps when the storms come, I will remain fruitful (or at least less fearful).
Of course, I have to give myself some grace. If the disciples who were right there in Jesus’ presence got fearful when their boat was swamping in a storm, I shouldn’t feel so bad when I panic or get out of sorts over my very real stressors. I visualize those disciples bailing out the boat, crying and arguing over whether or not to wake up Jesus and why the heck doesn’t He care what’s happening. I take comfort in watching (in my imagination) Him calming the storm…and though He was chiding them, giving them patient grace.
That’s a good way to pray through my own weaknesses and fears.In praying through that Mark 4 story with Lectio Divina, I was able to ask for grace more quickly myself when I just don’t seem to have enough faith.