I ran across this verse in matins this morning and it encouraged me quite a bit:
OUR UNRIGHTEOUS DEEDS HAVE BECOME OUR ENEMIES,
AND WE RUN TO YOU, THE LIVING GOD.
WE OFFER YOU THE WORDS OF YOUR DISCIPLES:
“SAVE US, LORD, BEFORE WE PERISH.”
SHOW YOURSELF NOW TO OUR ENEMIES,
FOR BY THE PRAYERS OF YOUR APOSTLES
YOU PROTECT YOUR PEOPLE AND SAVE THEM FROM DANGER
While it is significant to note that the church teaches us here that our evil deeds are our enemies (not someone outside us), that is not what struck me this morning. What struck me was the words of the Disciples, "Save us, Lord, before we perish."
I had to stop reading for a moment this morning because this verse hit me so forcefully and think about where it came from and when the Disciples used the words, "Save us, Lord, before we perish." Then it came to me. On the sea, when Jesus had fallen asleep in the back of the boat and the waves were tossing the boat (Mark 4: 38). Jesus then arose and rebuked the wind and the waves and the sea became calm.
For the Disciples, the prayer for salvation had nothing to do with eternal matters. It had everything to do with the storm that they feared would capsize their boat.
I need to learn from the Disciples. Too often I don't pray for salvation from the rough sea of thoughts that is often rocking my boat and filling me with anxiety. Maybe I don't pray to be saved because I assume "salvation" is a heavenly matter. Maybe, and I think this is most often the case, I don't pray because I think I should be able to handle it. I think I should be able to work it out in my head--all the while experiencing anxiety, doubt, fear, and a generally bad attitude.
You know, I think sometimes I don't want to be saved. I don't want God to calm the waves inside me. I want God to give me an answer. I want God to fit all of the pieces of the puzzle together for me. I'm holding out. I'm enduring the storm in the vain expectation that if I suffer long enough it will all somehow make sense to me. It seems I want things to make sense more than I want peace.
This morning as I read this verse I realized that to have peace, to let Christ calm the waves disturbing my mind, I have to first let go of the waves. I have to let them go away unexplained, unresolved, unanswered. I have to be willing, just like the Disciples, only to worship Him.
I don't know why I need to figure out why things are the way they are. I don't know why it is so hard for me just to trust God. But it is hard for me. I hope I can learn to say, "Save us, Lord, before we perish," before my boat is swamped by everything I don't understand, before I exhaust myself with worrying, figuring, and dot-connecting. After all, I'm grumpy when I am exhausted, and I'm sure everyone who has to be around me would appreciate it if I would just let go of my need to figure out the unfigureable and let Christ calm the sea of my mind.
Save us, Lord, before we perish.