What I read: Luke 8
Observations: I noticed that several times in the chapter people were afraid for various reasons. The disciples were afraid when they were in the boat and the wind and waves were rising around them. Then they were even MORE afraid after Jesus calmed the wind and waves, but this time their fear was of a different kind I think. Instead of being afraid for their lives they were fearful of WHO they were in the boat with. It’s possible that they were starting to get a better idea of who Jesus really was with each successive way that he revealed himself. If the wind and waves obey him, then he is probably even more powerful than they think. When the man possessed by a legion of demons is set free, the people who see him sitting there clothed and in his right mind don’t respond by feeling peaceful, they’re afraid, uncertain of who is in their midst with the power to do what he just did. The woman who had been bleeding for 12 years is so afraid to ask Jesus for healing that she just approaches him from behind and touches the very edge of his garment, and when he asks who touched him, she comes forward trembling in fear.
Application: It reminds me of the section of the Narnia stories where Lucy asks Mr. Beaver if Aslan is safe, and is met with this response: “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” More often than not I like to think that following Jesus is meant to somehow make my life safer, but I’m reminded again today that following Jesus is a dangerous business – he is not predictable, not easily understood, and sometimes following him will lead me into places that are far beyond my level of comfort. While I seek stability and comfort, following Jesus should actually push me to the places where I need to hear him say, “fear not”, which of course means that I would have to go to places that make me afraid, because there’s no need for Jesus to say fear not if I’m not afraid in the first place.
Prayer: Jesus, while I would be tempted to pray for you to keep my life safe and out of the places that make me afraid, instead today I want to pray that you’ll lead me even to the places that make me afraid, the places that make me wonder if you’ll be able to come through, and that make me nervous to be there because I know I’m above my experience or even my own wisdom. I pray this knowing full well that when you answer I will wish that you hadn’t, but I’m praying it anyway. I pray that you will lead me to the places where I need to more fully lean on you and trust in you than where I stand today, and I pray this in full confidence that when I am there and I’m looking around like the disciples were that night in the boat, that I will find you are there with me, and if you’re there, I don’t really need to be afraid.