Scripture and Imagination

Do you ever engage your imagination to picture a scene from Scripture? Do you know your imagination is God-given, a source of delight, and a part of His creative spirit given to mankind? I love using my imagination to make the Scriptures come alive and sometimes understand things more clearly. One has to be careful with that, of course, but I’m talking details that add to the story, not changing the facts.

Today’s Gospel reading was from Mark 4:34-41 on Jesus calming the sea. This is the one where He’s sleeping on the cushion while the disciples are terrified for their lives. They wake Him up and yell at Him (after all, there’s a storm going on), “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (I think it needs an exclamation point there, but the writers didn’t use one, so just imagine it! 🙂 ) He woke up, looks around, then rebukes the wind and waves and it all calms down.

Have you ever noticed that, although artists usually portray Jesus standing on the edge of the boat commanding, the text doesn’t say He stood up? He probably sat up a bit, looked around, quickly ascertained the issue, and took care of it., “Quiet! Be still!” (got my exclamation marks that time!) He then scolds the disciples and they all wonder to each other who He is that even wind and waves obey Him. I’ve always wondered why they’re talking about Him like that in front of Him. Then it occurred to me–He was probably already back to sleep!

I mean, picture the scene: Jesus is dead asleep with exhaustion to the point that a violently rocking boat doesn’t wake Him. He’s shaken awake to panicked men who are yelling at Him for help. He sits up, sort of groggy, looks around, and rebukes the storm. He then looks up at the shocked faces of His companions and says, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” and then turns over, snuggles back down and falls asleep. The disciples are left in their shock, staring at His back now gently moving with the deep breaths of sleep.

You know what this brought to my mind this morning as I heard it read at Mass? How like me–while I’m all in a panic over a situation (or several), trying to figure out what to do and praying (reverently yelling?) at God to DO SOMETHING!–He’s looking over at me with perfect calmness saying, “Do you not yet have faith?”

This hit me rather squarely because we are preparing to move in the next couple months and housing, cost of living, moving expenses, etc. are all needing to be figured and found. As I was driving to the church this morning for Mass the Lord reminded me that at one time Nolan and I were going to start a “Jehovah Jireh Journal.”

Early on in our marriage and parenting with small children, we were struggling to pay college debt, run a household of kids, etc. and we just couldn’t see where the money would come from each month. Then, quite unexpectedly, we were given free milk for a time. We had the idea then (but never followed through with it) so as to remind ourselves that God is “Jehovah Jireh,” our Provider.

As I drove I started thinking of all the things we’d have written in that journal and I became more excited as I drove, realizing that God has never left us or forsaken us. We’ve never had a lot, but we’ve always had enough. I admire Dave Ramsey and we use his methods, but it may not be in God’s will for us to ever become everyday millionaires. Most of the saints weren’t and, if they were, they often gave it all away to imitate Christ on earth and to not be distracted from their pursuit of holiness. Others kept their wealth and used it for the good of others, as many still do today. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. To be honest, I don’t know that I could handle wealth if I had it. When I was younger I’d have told God, “Try me!” I’m not so sure anymore.

It’s become far more important to me to do the will of God, whatever that might be, rather than to be financially independent. Since we believe our move to Lander is God’s will, then I need to trust Him to provide for that move, even if it means there won’t be much left over. And as I sat listening to the Gospel read, it seemed to me that Jesus was telling my own storm, “Quiet! Be still!” and looking at me with the same question in His eyes, “Do you not yet have faith?”