When I hear the word I immediately think of a washing machine. The agitator is located in the center of the wash basket. When washing the dirty, soiled, stinky contentsÂ it creates the action of forcefully rotating back and forth while repeatedly bringing the contents from the bottom of the basket to the top. It's really quite a violent experience for its contents.
Last week I was studying in Luke 8:24 and read two words that literally mean 'a violent agitation'...the words are wind & raging waters.
In Luke 8:22 Jesus says to His disciples, His followers, "Let's go to the other side." So they got into a boat and set out. Jesus gets into the boat with His followers. Jesus is with His followers. Note: being a follower implies there's a leader. Jesus, the leader, is in the boat with Jesus-followers. And this boat has a destination: the other side. The other side of what? For our purposes let's just say it's the other side of comfortable, a.k.a. the uncomfortable; or the other side of what's known, a.k.a. the unknown.
Jesus leads His followers to the uncomfortable and the unknown.
Luke 8:23 goes on to teach us that a squall (literally defined as a tempestuous, tumultuous, turbulent wind) came down on this boat filled with Jesus-followers and was immediately swamped, overwhelmed, with water and they found themselves in great danger, jeopardy, even peril. Â Where's Jesus? Didn't he board the boat with His followers? Yes, of course He did. He didn't leave His followers leaderless. Then where is He?
This is where the story gets confusing for Jesus-followers. He's sleeping. He's taking a nap. The leader sleeps? Well, technically, yes. Jesus, though He was God with skin on, was still a man and as a human He needed a nap. As Jesus-followers we need to see Jesus from two perspectives here. The human side of Jesus slept. The Son-op- God side of Jesus is in the boat. With His followers. In the storm. Aware of their predicament.
Just because Jesus seems silent and unaware doesn't make it so.
Jesus is the one who called them into the uncomfortable and the unknown. Storms; tempestuous, tumultuous, turbulent times; are uncomfortable, unpredictable, and the outcomes are unknown. But Jesus is in the boat. Jesus is in the storm. He even led His followers to it and He'll guide His followers through it...to the other side.
Luke 8:24 says the disciples went to Jesus. That's exactly what a follower of Jesus should do...recognize Jesus is in the boat, in the storm, and they should attach themselves to Him, trusting first that He is who their focus and attention should be on. We have no idea how long a storm will rage; we have no control over the duration and impact of a turbulent wind. Jesus knows. And that is where a follower of Jesus draws peace and endurance...Jesus knows (period.) Any storm, any turbulent time, does not go unnoticed by Jesus.
As His followers we need to be more mindful of His presence in our storms than more demanding of making them go away.
Can Jesus make a storm go away? Luke 8: 24 says Jesus rebuked the wind. That means He admonished the wind sharply. The wind, this violent agitation, was spoken to harshly, sharply, and it was immediately under the control of Jesus. Simultaneously, the storm ceased and all was calm. So, yes, absolutely Jesus can make a storm go away. But that's not the only perspective a follower should have.
Just because Jesus can calm a storm doesn't mean He will.
We're not assured of a storm-free, agitated-less walk with Jesus. What we are assured of is His peace, His calm, in all storms. In Luke 8:25 Jesus asks His followers a crucial question and it requires an answer: Where is your faith Jesus asks His disciples, those Who follow Him, where is your faith? Is it on whether the storm will go away or not? Is it on how the storm will go away? Is it on how agitated you are as the winds blow? Are you being led by doubt instead? Is Jesus even here?
How ironic! At this precise moment (as I'm typing this blog - go figure) I was rudely interrupted by my washing machine. The agitator in my Maytag appliance began loudly and vigorously thumping in its small space in the laundry room. If it could, it would have thumped its way into the living room as if to say, "I am one agitated machine here; can't you tell there's commotion going on inside by all the outward, obvious, and not-so-subtle hints?"
Removing the laptop off my lap I went to the source of the noisy thumping, opened its lid, and immediately the agitation stopped. It took some maneuvering, rearranging of the lopsided, imbalanced garments but all was set aright once again. Carry on, Mr. Maytag.
I'm typing a blog about agitation and I get a real-life application.
Are you living agitated right now? Is there some form of commotion going on inwardly? Is a storm raging? Are the winds turbulent, tumultuous, tempestuous? Then it sounds like you need Jesus to come and rearrange, maneuver, what's imbalanced in your life. It sounds like you need to answer the question Jesus asked His disciples, where's your faith?
Remember these disciples in Luke 8 were being called and led, by Jesus, to the other side. They have no idea what's on the other side. It may be uncomfortable, it's definitely unknown, and this storm, this agitation that suddenly poured down on their life could very well be all part of the plan. Actually, I believe it is part of the Leader's plan.
Jesus just might lead His followers into a storm as preparation for what they'll face on the other side.
Jesus knows best. Always. Even when His way doesn't make sense, it's still, by far, the best way. These disciples in Luke 8 were about to head (more accurately, be led) into some uncomfortable, unknown territory. Having this experience of Jesus calming a storm with a sharp rebuke, reminding them Jesus was aware of their predicament even though He slept, assuring them of the calm that Jesus brings when inwardly agitated prepared these Jesus-followers for what was on the other side.
I'm thankful for today's agitation application.