I have a new "Opening the Bible" blog post at i.ucc.org. It's about the frustration I think Jesus felt while getting the disciples ready. It's called "I was taking a nap!"
Jesus spent time with the disciples sharing the things that others didn't get. He was teaching them to look for more and to be people who challenged others to trust in Jesus.
And apparently on this day, Jesus was tired.
In this reading, from Mark 4:35-41, Jesus and the disciples got into a boat and headed across the lake. Jesus went and took a nap. Some say he was napping because he was going to show the disciples God's authority over the wind and the waves later. I think Jesus was tired.
He slept through the rocking of the boat and the crashing waves only to be awakened by the frightened disciples. They didn't understand how Jesus could be sleeping at such a dangerous time on the boat. I'm sure they were amazed that the storm hadn't woken him up before they did.
And Jesus simply told the storm to be quiet. And it was quiet. Sometimes I wonder if right here Jesus was waking up, feeling a bit crabby, and instead of saying something nice he said something more like "Hey! I was taking a nap! Shut up wind! I was sleeping!"
But that's not the frustrated mood I'm really thinking of with this passage. Instead, I'm looking at Jesus frustration as he says, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?" It is as if Jesus was saying, "You're not ready to do the work I have for you."
Yet the frustration I see in a "just woke up from a nap" Jesus doesn't keep the work of God from being done. In pretty short order, Jesus sent the disciples out to preach. As frustrated as he was getting woken up from a needed nap -- and as frustrated he was at their lack of faith, He sent them out. They weren't ready. But they were sent.
I don't think any of us are ready to do the things God wants us to do. But I believe we are sent anyway. We may frustrate God to no end with our mistakes, our fear and our lack of faith, but God is capable of calming the storm -- and getting God's work done. I think it's nice to know that we can be part of that work. We don't have to feel or even be ready. I guess what we really need to be is willing.