RCL Year B Proper 7
Job 38:1-11, Psalm 107:1-3 and 23-32, II Corinthians 6:1-13, Saint Mark 4:35-41

“Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”[1] This question ends the Gospel today. It is no rhetorical question. Jesus has called his disciples, cured the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath, taught several parables, and, now, he has commanded the wind and the sea to be quiet and calm. The disciples are beginning to realize that Jesus is more special than perhaps they originally thought. “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

The simple answer to the question is that the wind and the sea obey God. Jesus is God. A fuller answer includes that Jesus is the Son of God who speaks in today’s first lesson from the Book of Job.

You could hardly find better summer reading than the entire Book of Job. From the sixth century, during the Babylonian Captivity, Job asks the hard question of whether God is good if God permits the existence of evil. Is God good if he permits his people to be taken into exile? Is God good if he permits Job, a pious and upright man, to lose his children, his property, and his health to loathsome sores covering his entire body?

The answer Job works out requires integrity. So long as he keeps his integrity, so long as he does not curse or blame God, he maintains his relationship with God even in the midst of his suffering. The problems Job encounters can be transcended by maintaining his agency’s freedom and by keeping a broader awareness of God’s power, presence, and wisdom. Salvation, Job discovers, is his relationship with God in spite of circumstances that could sway him to change his allegiance. Through his suffering while keeping his relationship with God intact, Job learns the hard truth that loosing children, property, and health are not the worst things that can befall a man. He learns that the worst thing is loosing one’s relationship with God. As we sing in the great hymn, “let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;…his kingdom is forever.”[2]

Similarly, God permits a storm on the Sea of Galilee with some frequency. But in one instance, Jesus quiets the storm to leave a footprint leading to his identity. Storms come, and storms go. But seeing the footprint of God himself, and having, week by week, a memorial of his death and resurrection, we have encouragement to remain faithful while the storms come and go. Like Job, we have the freedom to learn that there are things worse than loosing goods, kindred, and even our life.

God’s love is tougher than a painkiller. That love involves God’s recognition of our integrity. We love God in return by following God’s example in recognizing our integrity as he has. We hold on to him in storm after storm, and, by this faith, we discover finally that the last thing God would do is to let us go.

[1] Saint Mark 4:41.

[2] The Hymnal 1982, Hymns 687 and 688, Stanza 4.

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