Master, Master, We Perish


I will go down with this ship:

now it came to pass
on a certain day
that he went into a ship with his disciples
and he said unto them

let us go over
unto the other side of the lake

and they launched forth
but
as they sailed
he fell asleep
and there came down a storm of wind on the lake
and they were filled with water
and were in jeopardy
and they came to him
and awoke him
saying

master
master
we perish

then he arose
and rebuked the wind
and the raging of the water
and they ceased
and there was a calm
and he said unto them

where is your faith?

and they
being afraid
wondered
saying one to another

what manner of man is this!
for he commands even the winds and water
and they obey him

Taking this story as a metaphor for one’s life, it goes like this:

  • Jesus has a mission for you
    [let us go over unto the other side of the lake].
  • You are obedient to him
    [and they launched forth].
  • His mission leads you into harm and peril
    [but as they sailed … there came down a storm of wind on the lake and they were filled with water and were in jeopardy].
  • He is not all that concerned about that
    [but as they sailed he fell asleep].
  • You will have to either rouse him — or fix it yourself
    [and they came to him and awoke him — where is your faith?].

Wait, what?  God will lead you into peril and jeopardy and then leave you there so He can take a nap?  Yes.  And if you don’t have the faith to either fix it yourself or to cry out to Him, then He will keep on napping — while the situation drowns you.  Having let the Lord of the Universe into the “ship” of your life and being obedient to His directions will grant you zero security that your travels will be safe.

And it wasn’t just the 12 disciples:

Lehi’s vision of the tree of life did not begin with “a large and spacious field” in which he “beheld a tree, whose fruit was desirable to make one happy.”  No, it starts ominously with:  a dark and dreary wilderness,

and it came to pass
that I saw a man
and he was dressed in a white robe
and he came and stood before me
and it came to pass
that he spake unto me
and commanded me to follow him
and it came to pass
that as I followed him
I beheld myself
that I was in a dark and dreary waste
a
nd after I had traveled for the space of many hours in darkness
I began to pray unto the lord
that he would have mercy on me
according to the multitude of his tender mercies
and it came to pass
after I had prayed unto the lord
I beheld a large and spacious field
and it came to pass
that I beheld a tree
whose fruit was desirable
to make one happy

You see, we begin our story in a miserable place, a dark and dreary wilderness.  Then, all is well, a man in white appears and commands us to follow him, presumably to deliver out of this situation.  And instead, we are led into an even worse situation, a dark and dreary waste.  Thanks a lot Man-in-White.  Then he just leaves us there — to wander in the depths of despair and depression.

And there’s where the story would’ve ended had it not been for Lehi’s impulse to begin to pray unto God for mercy and deliverance from the darkness.  It’s only then that we can find ourselves in the large and spacious field with the fruit of happiness and family togetherness.

God isn’t troubled by your bothers, unless you can be bothered enough to trouble Him:

and he spake a parable unto them
to this end
that people ought always to pray
and not faint
saying

there was in a city
a ruler
who didn’t fear god
nor care about people
and there was in that city
a widow
who came unto him
saying

give me justice
and stop my oppressor

and he would not
for a while
but afterwards
he said within himself

though I do not care about god
nor respect any person
because this widow troubles me
I will exact justice for her
lest by her continual coming
she tire me out

and the lord said

ponder what the unjust ruler said
and shall not god avenge his own elect
who cry day and night unto him
when he has patience with them?
I tell you that he will grant justice for them speedily

Next Article by Justin:  New Thoughts on Faith

Previous Article by Justin:  Tithing the Widow’s Mites

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5 Comments

  1. Typo: “God will led you into peril and jeopardy and then leave you there so He can take a nap?” Should be lead.

  2. Thanks

  3. Btw, you can delete the first comment, if you want.

    Concerning the premise of the post, my own life has demonstrated that it is true. The next time I meet someone complaining about how their life has made a turn for the worse since they allowed God into it, I’ll just point them to this post.

    What made you write this? Has God led you into a waste of late?

  4. Reblogged this on PELOTAS OCCULTA.

  5. I don’t know that I’ve had a particularly darker time than average. It’s more like I have been keenly aware in recent years of a lack of divine intervention in matters where I feel like it’d have been warranted. I’ve also always been bothered by the Problem of Evil in general. I’ve never liked people who survive natural disasters saying “I prayed and I knew God would save me,” when the same earthquake or whatever also collapsed the roof onto a room of school-children. I’d rather think that God simply did no intervening than to believe he intentionally chose to step-in and circumvent the laws of nature so as to save some middle-class white guy, but couldn’t be bothered to do anything for the room of 7-year olds.

    Or when people tell stories of God “helping them find their car keys”. Like the maker of the whole universe would step-in and make your car keys appear so you wouldn’t be late for a play-date, while refusing to make a bowl of rice appear for a starving child. That he’d rather help you do better at not cussing in traffic than help kidnapped girls escape sexual slavery. I would rather live with a universe where God doesn’t exist or where God maintains a policy of never intervening and just lets things play-out how chance and the laws of physics describe they are going to play-out — than to think that he can intervene and he chooses to find car keys and help you get a better job, rather than be bothered with child sex trafficking, terminal bone cancer in infants, or ecological disasters.

    I think Mormonism handles theodicy better than other Abrahamic religions because it posits God as simply an extra-terrestrial life form in the physical universe [not as some sort of ontologically supernatural-type being] who may “allow” suffering simply because that’s the way stuff happened and he’s not in a position to change the way the dice fall anymore than you or I am. That maybe part of learning to “be like God” is learning to accept that sometimes “that’s just the way it happened” is an acceptable reason and you just have to find peace in that anyway. It’s easier for me to envision God coming to an Earth, pushing the Go-Button to get it all started, and then just leaving to do something else while it all unwinds. He may come back every now-and-then to do some big things, but he leaves the day-to-day management to chance, physics, and our conscious agency.

    But, even in Mormonism, there is still a lot saying that God is capable of special miracle-working interventions that go outside/circumvent the natural progression of things via physical laws [so he’s still not out of the Problem of Evil entirely]. And, to me, the most comforting position I can take given an Intervening, Miracle-Working God is drawn from Jesus on the Boat and the Man-in-White with Lehi. And that is that things will simply unfold naturally [as the blind, physical laws would describe, without any “reason” or “concern”], and that sometimes you will actually feel led into those “bad luck” conditions. And that, if you do nothing, God will not step-in to stop anything [in fact, you may even see it begin to grow worse around you]. And if he’s going to intervene, it’ll only be after a long-period of “crying out” to him in the midst of it all.

    I found that the three stories in the post show a much more non-intervening deity than most people imagine when they think about praying to God for help or when they’re seeking deliverance from a bad life situation.


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