No, that is not the message; it would make God into a robot for our use whenever we felt a special need or desire. In fact, to make sure you don’t fall into that trap, the Church chose a brief passage from the Book of Job (Jb 38:1,8-11) for the First Reading as a reminder of the “bigger picture.” In the extended story of Job, he is portrayed as a very good man, always living rightly according to God’s law. Yet in the “storms” of his life, he lost everything (family, health and possessions) despite his holiness. Eventually Job’s life and its blessings were restored and multiplied, but not until he stopped questioning God and simply started to trust in Him, even though he did not understand the reason for his suffering.
Each one of us is sailing in our own little “boat of life.” Each one of us will meet with storms over which we have no control. That will be our test – will I start to ask, “why me, Lord?” Or will I choose to trust that Jesus is present in my boat with me, seemingly asleep, but still with me in the midst of the storm? Our whole voyage through life is a test of our faith. We say that we believe in Jesus. But when times become tough, how do we react? When we see a friend with growing dementia, or with an addiction to alcohol; a marriage floundering; children not following the rules of society; or we experience loss of employment; surprise medical bills; weather disasters – will we trust that Jesus is still present through it all, that he always was and still is in everyone’s little boat?
This is today’s gospel message. Even in the midst of the storm, when our little boat is being tossed about violently, peace can be experienced only if we really trust and believe that Jesus is right there with us through it all. Peace is not the absence or avoidance of turmoil; instead, peace comes with a change of heart through our faith-recognition of the presence of Jesus in all circumstances.
Faith, for all of us, is a priceless gift which can be lost if we do not nourish it through meditation on God’s word. Accordingly, our constant beggar’s prayer must be, “Lord, increase my faith” Consider how often you read God’s word in your bible or other religious publication.