When did you last feel like you’d lost control? On a bike? A skateboard? I remember vividly a moment on a freeway years ago, when I lost control of my beloved 1974 Ford Landau, finding myself sliding sideways, at speed, towards another vehicle! Or maybe, it’s been this whole last three months of pandemic-induced lockdown, remote learning, working from home and relational stress.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be in full control of my life – as though I had a remote control for it, turning off the hard and uncomfortable and turning up the pleasant and enjoyable. Sometimes, I pretend that I do. When faced with uncertainty, I plan, I control, I organise and I manage. I try to convince myself that things are OK; that really I haven’t lost control. Ironically, my attempts to control things usually end up adding to my worries and reducing my peace and joy! Am I describing you too?
In John chapter 6, Jesus sends his disciples ahead of him to cross the lake in a boat. But by three in the morning, they’ve been rowing for hours and making almost no progress. A handful of scared men, in a small boat, on a dark night, in a big storm. With zero control over their plight. I’ve felt, lately, like the men in that boat.
At that precise moment, Jesus comes to them – walking on the water. It’s as though he’s trying to show them that he is able to rise right above the very things which threaten them. As soon as they see him, they desperately ask him to get into the boat with them. And the minute he does, the storm calms and they arrive safely on the far shore.
I’m not in control. And, if you don’t mind me saying so, neither are you. I need someone in my boat who is. Someone who has control. Who can steer my boat. Who can give me rest. Jesus offers to be that person, to those who put their trust in him.