Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Most of us exist in a state of desperation, but we are afraid to admit it. Strangely enough, we will not pray as we ought unless we are willing to admit our weakness, brokenness, and desperation. We need God in our lives. It is for this reason that we pray.
One natural reaction to the rising waters and crashing waves of affliction is fear. When storms suddenly arise in our lives, we all too quickly assume, like the disciples, that God must not care for us. If God did, we assume, there wouldn’t be a storm in the first place. We cry out to God, “Don’t you care?” We forget who is in the boat with us.
Jesus’ will and determination to reach out and touch us in all our uncleanness is clear: “I do so will!” Jesus does this at great cost to himself – a cost that climaxes in the cross. We never have to second guess the breadth and width of God’s compassion. It is greater than we can fathom and reaches out beyond the boundaries we often set.
If Jesus needed times of solitude, how much more is this true for us. But solitude feels more like a punishment than a reward. We are part of a culture addicted to amusement, noise, and music. The constant chatter and endless buzz keeps us focused on trivial distractions and prevents us from truly wrestling with ourselves, God, meaning, and real life.
One common denominator explains Jesus’ rejection, trial, and crucifixion: The tyranny of expectations! Expectations are powerful. Because of this, they can be easily abused – even oppressive. The tyranny of expectations holds the potential to sabotage every area of our lives – from the daily pulse of everyday existence to our relationships with others and our participation in community life.