46 After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47 When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. 49 But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” 51 Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
Our God has the habit of occupying the most surprising corners of our lives. We can find God in our questions (and not just the answers) and we can find God in our disappointments (and not just our delights.) But in Mark 6:46-52 we learn of another seemingly unlikely place that God inhabits, our fears. The disciples see a ghost waking towards their boat in the early morning amidst raging winds and rolling waves. Fear rises up to choke them. But when they look closely and – I think – look contemplatively at the object of their fear, they are surprised to see Jesus in the ghost waking towards them. More than helping us through our fears, Spirit calls us to discern God’s presence in that which causes us to fear. Another miracle awaits us if we can summon the courage to look closely and contemplatively.
(c) 2018 Brad Syverson