Thursday, October 19, 2023

Being Terrified by Your Friend's Magical Powers

Suggested Reading: Mark 4:35-41

The BBC program Merlin took place in a time when sorcery was outlawed. Naturally, that made things a little difficult for the infamous sorcerer who helped Arthur become the king of legend. In the series finale, Merlin finally revealed his magical nature to Arthur as the king lay dying. Though Merlin was trying to save Arthur's life at the time, Merlin's magical nature scared the king more than his own terminal condition, at least at first. The king eventually came to terms with Merlin's abilities, but when Arthur first got a glimpse of who Merlin really was, it frightened him to be in the presence of someone with so much power.

The episode is reminiscent of a passage from Mark 4. Jesus and his disciples had gotten into a boat to cross the lake and Jesus had taken the opportunity to get some sleep. A massive storm swept up and began to threaten the boat so Jesus's disciples woke him up, worried that they were going to die. Jesus immediately spoke to the storm and stilled the winds and waves, and then he rebuked his disciples for demonstrating so little faith, i.e., freaking out. But even though they had feared for their lives before, after Jesus saves them is when they were terrified and asked one another, “Who then is this? Even the wind and the sea obey Him!” (Mark 4:41, HCSB).

Most of us entered into a relationship with God or began our walk with Christ with the understanding of God's love for us because of what God sent Jesus to do on the cross for us.  But because we don't often experience things like the sudden calming of powerful storms or watch dead men rise from their caskets, we can sometimes forget how powerful our God is.

Our God is so immensely powerful that the entire universe flowed from his imagination, that he can create people from dirt and drop brimstone bombs to level cities with less effort than it takes us to bat an eye. The power that our God wields should terrify us no less than it did the disciples. But being aware both of the power God has and of the ways in which God has worked it for our benefit should fill us with gratitude and inspire us to consistently use our own power to save and serve people.

Our God is powerful enough to destroy us on a whim but chooses to save us instead. How are you using your power?

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