But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ – Mark 4:38
All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged. – The demon Screwtape’s advice to Wormwood from C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters
Yesterday, while trying to pick up a few regular things at the grocery store, Kelly found the place packed, not a shopping cart free, people grabbing inordinate amounts of toilet paper and cleaning supplies, even people shouting across the store to employees. This panic-filled scene was beyond the pale of reasonable behavior.
At the same time, some broadcast and social media outlets keep lying to say this whole thing is a hoax. This, too, is mindless behavior.
So when our daily office lesson from Mark today depicted the disciples weathering a storm with Jesus on the Seas of Galilee, the panic of the disciples struck me. They let the genuine peril of the moment overtake their sense of God’s protecting hand. They forgot exactly who it was who was accompanying them on this journey.
There may be times, perhaps a time like this, of overwhelming disquiet, in which people fall prey to mania at one extreme or denial at the other. The disciples had a legitimate concern, but they needn’t have worried to the degree they did, because Christ was with them the whole time. God is not asleep in this current crisis. We don’t need to hoard gallons of bleach. Nor should we decide to not wash our hands, saying, “This is all fake news.” Reasonable precautions should be taken. But even more, a firm trust in the Lord who loves us should keep our hearts from falling prey to the kinds of devilish extremes of which Screwtape would approve.