28 July 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalms 46:10: all scripture quoted is from the KJV)
“A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7)
When chaos reigns in our midst, it is difficult to sit still and do nothing, but often, the wiseman will determine if there is any human solution to the problems at hand. If not, any steps taken will be futile to calm the storm. When circumstances exceed our ability to influence an outcome the only resort is to leave the outcome up to our Lord by placing our trust in His care. I will tell you a story of one of my childhood heroes as an example:
One day when Stonewall Jackson and his sister-in-law were crossing the boiling current just below the American Falls at Niagara, in a small boat manned by two oarsmen, the current so swirled the boat that the lady became terrified, believing they were surely going to the bottom. Jackson seized her by the arms and turning to one of the men said, ”How often have you crossed here?” “I have been rowing people across, sir, for years.” twelve years.” “Did you ever meet with an accident?” “Never, sir.” “Never was capsized, never lost a life.” “Nothing of the kind sir!” Then turning, in a somewhat peremptory tone he said to the lady, “You hear what the boatman says, and unless you think you can take the oars and row better than he does, sit still and trust him as I do.” Sometimes it is our duty as Christians to ‘stand still’ in faith. On the other hand, sometimes it will be time to go forward in faith.
An even better example is given us in the Gospel of St. Mark:
“And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:35-41
The disciples in the account above were seasoned seam)en. They had crossed the /Sea of Galilee untold numbers of times, yet, this night they faced a storm that was beyond their ability to negotiate. The ship was literally filling with water and seemed on the point of sinking. They were at their wits end. They abandoned their own efforts to salvage the ship (and their own lives) and appealed to the only hope left them – the Lord Jesus Christ. The One who created the Seas is also the Masters of the Seas. The best place in time of trouble or danger is to be with Christ since no death can exist in Him. But placing our trust in God and letting go of our own futile efforts requires faith. Unfortunately, the disciples did not well exemplify that faith on the /sea of Galilee that night.
Trust is a direct consequence of faith, and what is faith? “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Hebrews 11:1-2) Trust is not easy if we do not have faith in the power Unseen. We do not understand the things of God by mind alone, but by the faith imparted to our hearts by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that the naked eye cannot see a tiny atom of an element, but we can indeed. We can see a gold ring which is made of millions of atoms of the element of gold. When terrors arise, we may not physically see the power of the Lord at our right hand, but it is there for us to claim in faith.
The Fair Haven to which we set our sails to find is more than this temporary existence. We seek the city beyond the world’s end. It is faith that gives us the stamina and courage to sail on despite the stormy gales and billows of the sea.