Our housegroup’s take on the calming of the storm #bigread2011

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Last night my church small group (a group of people from my church who meet weekly to read the bible together, pray and share the Christian journey) did the ‘week 2’ bible study materials from Big Bible.

I thought it would be nice to share some insights we had as a group – since so far on this blog you’ve only had my views!

We were reading the Calming of the Storm in Matthew chapter 8. We watched the introductory video from the bishop & theologian Tom Wright & we also listened to a testimony of a more modern experience of a storm and God’s intervention. These acted as helpful springboards to our discussion.

The main insights I think we got were:

How should we pray?

We should pray honestly and not pray what we think God wants to hear. He can cope with us praying ‘don’t you care?’ (as the disciples say in Mark’s account of the same event!)

What happens when we pray?

God does far more than we might have imagined or expected!

The disciples would have been bailing out water from the boat and it would have literally been a case of ‘all hands on deck’. They probably woke Jesus up, handing him a bucket to get stuck in to the joint effort of keeping their boat afloat. They weren’t praying for Jesus to calm the storm. They were asking him to help in the joint rescue effort!

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We realised that we all often pray for God to bail out our boat (often feeling we have to ‘weather it’) rather than praying for the storm to be stilled.

Pray expectantly and just see what God might do!

What does this mean for our lives as Christians?

We were challenged by the question ‘once the disciples were on the shore – if they’d been asked “would you rather have been on the shore watching or in the boat going through that experience with Jesus?” Which would they choose? What would you choose?’

We all struggled with Jesus’ seemingly harsh words to the disciples ‘oh you of little faith! Why are you so scared?’ v26.

We had a long discussion about this. We considered how else Jesus could have responded. What if he’d said ‘oh you poor things, there there’? We talked about how anyone knows if you’re with a small child and they fall over that the best thing to do is not to make a fuss. This lets the child know that there is nothing to be frightened of and that they’re safe with you.

The other insight we had was that there is no hint that another storm won’t come – indeed we know there’s another incident like this when Jesus walks on the water. What this means for us is that it’s clear that the Christian journey isn’t storm-free! Quite the contrary. But we know that, as in the old children’s song ‘with Jesus in the boat you can smile at the storm’ (or grimace – that’s ok too!)

 

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