Sunday, January 15, 2012

I Cannot Do This Alone

Late that day he said to them, "Let's go across to the other side." They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, "Teacher, is it nothing to you that we're going down?"

Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, "Quiet! Settle down!" The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. Jesus reprimanded the disciples: "Why are you such cowards? Don't you have any faith at all?"

They were in absolute awe, staggered. "Who is this, anyway?" they asked. "Wind and sea at his beck and call!" Mark 4:35-41The Message (Matthew 8:23-27 cross reference)

No small sum has been spent to determine if there is life on other planets. You can Google SETI to get a sample of our efforts to prove we are not alone. The answer seems simple enough to me. We are not and we never were even if it sometimes, on a personal level, seems to be so.

A spouse, our family, our friends don't "get" us. We feel we are toting our tally of bricks in lonely, unloved silence. Ours is the only marriage having problems and we are the ones teaching the Marriage Renewal class. It's Mother's Day and my child didn't come home last night so there I sit (alone) in the pew trying to ignore the stinging behind my eyelids.

A co-worker I supervise can't wait to show me her new car but I have to take care to park my junker where I can pull out because my reverse gear is gone and there is no money to fix it. (I won't even go into having to make a fan belt out of my pantyhose.) We have all felt we faced the day and a bad medial report alone. But we didn't.

Not only is there life out there, The Almighty and Eternal One filling the expanse of unseen space; but there is life in here, in this tiny space between the ribs. Sometimes it just feels as if He is asleep in the boat and we row alone.

The disciples had just had a day full of mustard seeds and cured lepers, of the servant of the Centurion being healed from a distance and Peter's own family being healed up close. It had been a day full of faith and the lessons of faith. Now an unexpected storm arises and God has His eyes closed. The first thing tossed overboard was faith. I would have fit right in.

Notice where Jesus was sleeping. The stern. The helm. The tiller. The rudder. The place of control. The place that determines the direction of the boat. From that place He awoke and ordered the storm to shut up but first He made fear do the same.

I have a sleeping God in my boat. Sleeping as in resting. Resting is a God thing I need to learn about. I can not do life alone and Jesus never intended that I should. Faith is in the boat. Hope is in the boat. Peace is in the boat with its hand on the tiller. Love is waking up. The sun will warm its way through. God will send us a raven. He will bring us to shore. The one thing He will never do is leave us alone. He promised.

I Cannot Do This Alone

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray
And to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.
In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me…
Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before me.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised…Amen

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer

And the wind ran out of breath and the sea became as smooth as glass.

Please enjoy the link below to a painting of the boats in the storm. If you look you will see the light on the water is Jesus with arms outstretched. Listen to the song that accompanies it and toss fear and exhaustion overboard. Christ will restore your liberty.



  1. I'm ready for some winds to run out of breath. I'm so glad you posted this. -K

  2. You minister to my heart. Thank you ....

    (And Bonnell? I've run across his work before. Lovely.)

  3. Bonhoeffer is a favorite. Martyr and hero.