Wednesday, April 18, 2018

"We Survived But We're Dead!"

One of the few kid's movies I don't mind watching over and over again (when my children insist) is the cartoon superhero movie, The Incredibles. If you are familiar with the movie, there is a scene where superhero mom, Elastigirl, has taken a jet to figure out what kind of trouble her husband, Mr. Incredible, has gotten himself into. She discovers not long before a pair of missiles take out her jet that two of her super-powered children are on the jet with her. As the missiles destroy the jet, she covers them with her elastic body and then puffs out into a parachute shape so that they can float safely to the surface of the ocean below.

When they have safely landed on the waves, her super-speedy little boy, Dash, begins going hysterical and delivers perhaps my favorite line of the movie. "We're dead! We're dead! We survived but we're dead!" In spite of the fact that all three of them have super-powers and have survived a missile attack on their jet, the boy immediately jumps to the worst case scenario and proclaims their doom.

Believe it or not, there is a very similar scene in the Bible. Jesus has been doing miracle after miracle, healing the sick, casting out demons, and outwitting the schemes of the Pharisees. One day, when he has finished teaching, Jesus and his disciples take a boat ride across the Sea of Galilee and Jesus lays down to take a nap. While Jesus is asleep, a storm blows in, a storm so bad that even these experienced fishermen who are familiar with this particular area and its storms are frightened. The waves are crashing against the boat and the vessel is taking on water and so they run to Jesus and wake him up from his nap, crying out, "Teacher! Don't you care that we're going to die?" (Mark 4:38).

Now notice, the disciples didn't come to him and say, "Jesus, we could use your help bailing out the water," or "Jesus, could you pray that the storm lightens up?" or "Jesus, the storm is really bad and we could use your help." They came to Jesus crying out, "We're going to die!" So Jesus, as he is still waking up, rebukes the wind and the waves and calms the storm. Then he turns to the disciples and says, "Why are you fearful? Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:40). Now, granted, this had to have been a pretty bad storm to scare the disciples like it did because they were all used to the storms on the Sea of Galilee. But their reaction to the storm was to jump to the worst possible conclusion and panic. "Teacher! Don't you care that we're dying?"

How often, when faced with terrible circumstances, are we guilty of the very same thing? How often when things go wrong do we immediately jump to the worst possible outcome and panic? How often do we cry gloom and doom rather than trusting the God who, even though he might not choose to remove the circumstances, is still capable of saving us? Jesus rebuked the disciples not because they were understandably nervous about a bad storm, but because their doom and gloom reaction demonstrated a lack of faith in God.

What does your reaction to frightening circumstances say about your faith? When trouble strikes, is your tendency to spout doom and gloom? Or do you remain rooted in the faith that God is capable of saving, even in the worst circumstances? Is your standard reaction, "We survived but we're dead!"? Or "My dad's a superhero. What's the worst that could happen?"

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