“Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.”––Genesis 1:24, 25 (KJV)
As we embark on the sixth day we enter into the most vast and detailed day of all creation. On all other days God speaks once or twice. But on this day he decrees four specific things. It is a day like none before; it marks the climax of God’s work, the crowning of his deeds. On this day we also venture into a surging storm of modern controversies, an uproar of conflict between faith and science, as well as between conservatives and conservationists. How did the animals come to be? Who are their evolutionary predecessors? Where do human beings fit in the scheme of progress? Are these words myth or reality? Do human beings have a responsibility to creation or do we have a God-ordained sanction to take dominion and exploit the earth for our pleasure? These are the tumultuous waters that buffet us by the sixth day’s subject matter.
As these storms rage it seems like Jesus is sleeping in the boat. Doesn’t he realize that we are in great danger of being swamped? Is the church going to survive such an onslaught of resistance? We feel like we are going to drown. Like the disciples we often react with fear and worry. Where is Jesus? This fear and worry often taints our preaching and prayer, and the world knows we are scarred. Why are we arguing? Why are we defending our faith? Why are we praying? All of these things can be done in the right spirit. But also our debates, defences and prayers can be the result of unbelief. Sadly I think much of our reaction has been caused by fear: we are being smothered by the world and we don’t believe we can make it to the other side.
Jesus sleeping in the boat during the storm exemplifies the spirit we need to have during the rage of the current age and its controversies. Jesus has said, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake” (Luke 8:22). We need to have complete confidence that his Word will come to pass: we will get to the other side. It is our lack of faith that causes us to sink. When we trust in his Word we can enter his rest; but without that trust we are overwhelmed. If we trust in the Word of God we can actually calm the storm, but when we doubt we are dictated by its aggression. In the middle of the storm Jesus “got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm” (Luke 2:24). In the same spirit of rest and faith we need to get up and rebuke the storm.
Prayer: Father, today we enter into a meditation on day six of creation. These are deep and tumultous waters. Help us to rest in you in complete confidence and trust. Through Jesus we will get to the other side.