Nov 5 2 Comments

Where exactly is “the other side?”

I was reading about Jesus and the disciples in the boat and then the storm came while Jesus was sleeping. It’s got to be one of the most well-known stories of the Bible, and there are analogies galore. It’s easy to relate to storms and feeling that Jesus doesn’t care if we drown. “Jesus, hello! It’s about time you do something! Are you deaf?” In the sermons and Sunday school lessons there is always a happy ending. Jesus saves the day. He calms the storm. Amen.

Once I did an in-depth study on this story. It was 20 years ago so I have forgotten most of it, but one thing I will never forget: The pastor said that the reason Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith was not that they did not calm the sea (he honestly couldn’t have expected them to), but that they were doubted, when he in the beginning of the story had said: Let’s go to the other side.They should have known, knowing Jesus intimately, that if he said so, they would get there. I thought that was a cool observation done by my pastor. Later I realized that most pastors and teachers had picked up on this little point. Just not me at that time.

When I read this story yesterday morning, I thought of this:

He was there (Jesus, that is). He is with me too, when it’s as stormy as it sometimes is.

He let it storm and let the disciples experience fear and frustration. He knew they needed that experience. He lets me get into a leaky boat at times too although it would have been a lot more pleasant to go on a cruise. I need the leaky boat experience too.

Last summer we climbed a mountain in Norway and came to this house that has lived through some storms. The house has character. The house does not look like a cookie-cutter-sub-division-perfectly-groomed-lawn house. This house looks WISE.

He only said they would get to the other side, not how and when. I need to “get to the other side” too, and I will. Just not sure how and when.

They had a clear and simple vision. A clear and simple vision is important to have or you will be drifting all the way to Damascus. I know what the ultimate “other side” is, but there are many “other sides” before reaching heaven. I need to write them down in my journal.

As I write this a November storm is roaring outside. The walls of our house are built to withstand the powers of nature, they are thick as an American sandwich, letting no warm air leave and no cold air enter. I can be warm and safe here, away from the storm. As life’s storms threaten to blow our hats off, we need to build sanctuaries in our spirits with insulated walls and beams that won’t easily blow over.

It experiences storms of all kinds. But it also gets this view. Not a bad deal.

This is all I have to say tonight. I will sleep to the sound of a howling wind.


  • Steve Gumaer says:

    You are amazing.

  • lynnie says:

    Getting to the other side is something I used to never think about, I always just knew the boat was sinking. I could never even imagine the other side. It was because i would become so overwhelmed with what I was in the middle of just like the disciples. I still struggle with this so much.
    Mt. Tamalpais is something I look at from my home, sometimes it’s shadow is my house in my heart.