Finding Meaning in the Storm
Of late, I have increasingly enjoyed contemplating iconic art. Like the written word, art can accomplish the creation of new thoughts that are helpful in the development of realizing what it means to be more fully human.
For instance, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, in his classic book The Gulag Archipelago, said “Bless you prison, bless you for being in my life. For there, lying upon the rotting prison straw, I came to realize that the object of life is not prosperity as we are made to believe, but the maturity of the human soul.”
Recently, I have spoken on multiple occasions about the icon pictured above, which represents Christ and the disciples on the Sea of Galilee.
The events shown are recounted to us in Luke’s account of the crossing of the Sea of Galilee, when the storm and the waves embattled the boat that Jesus and the disciples were in. This particular depiction of the story linked two events that I had not previously connected in my mind. The first was the statement of Jesus that they were going to the other side of the lake, and the second was the freeing of the demon possessed, broken man in chains (a metaphor for those in prison if ever there was one) being the very reason for the journey in the first place.
The purpose of the journey appears to have been to intervene in this man’s life, to bring healing, restoration and freedom to him. The storm can be viewed as a conspiring of external circumstances, causing a very real challenge to this activity. And yet, the creator of the universe, our Savior, was and is steadfastly committed to His liberation activity.
I was also struck by the way that, from time to time, I can insert myself into several of the characters in the picture. At times, I am the fearful disciple in the boat, questioning whether God cares. At times, I am Peter, stepping out on the water in faith, temporarily successful and then sinking. At times, I am the prisoner who needs rescuing. And at times, in Christ, I am privileged to be the one who can minister redemptive activity. Sometimes a picture really is worth 1,000 words.
Whichever character you identify with right now, it is a stunning fact that God dwells within us by his Holy Spirit and in Him, we live and breathe, and have our being.
Regardless of our circumstances, it does not get much better than that. I pray as you read this Touchstone article, that the God of all hope would fill you hearts and minds with a revelation of who He is and how much He has done for us and is for us in life. Enjoy the ride amongst the waves, with the picture in your mind’s eye.