He [Jesus] saw that they [the disciples] were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and the waves. – Mark 6:48 (NLT)
In the 1980s, one hit wonder, Rockwell, recorded his ode to paranoid surveillance with the song, Somebody’s Watching Me. I know what you’re thinking. . .no, Michael Jackson did not originally record this song, but he did sing backing vocals on it. (Just a bit of music trivia.)
More recently television series like 24, and Person of Interest and movies such as Enemy of the State and The Bourne Ultimatum would have us believe we are under constant surveillance. If fact the opening voice-over for the program Person of Interest says the following, “You are being watched. The government has a secret system: a machine that spies on you every hour of every day.”
Life has indeed imitated art with the current debate going on in the public square about the use of drones to spy on US citizens. Last year the federal government passed a law authorizing drones for commercial use. Under the law, law enforcement officials were permitted to expand the use of drones. With apologies to the Stars Wars movie, it is shaping up to be “Attack of the Drones.”
We tend to think of surveillance in sinister tones, but surveillance is not inherently a bad thing. It really depends on the intent of the party doing the watching. Parents are now able to install “nanny cams;” hidden cameras that allow them to remotely observe their children while they are in the care of others.
For a bit of the backstory on our text, Jesus had just completed feeding the 5,000 and sent his disciples ahead of him to cross the Sea of Galilee. He retreated to the hills by himself to pray (Mark 6:44-48). Yet while alone communing with his father, he still had his disciples under surveillance and saw that they were in serious trouble. Jesus walked out onto the stormy sea and calmed the wind (v 48-51).
Just as Jesus had his disciples in view, our heavenly Father has us in view and we are never outside of his watchful care. David rejoiced in this knowledge when penning the words to Psalm 139:7-12, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (NIV).
Not only is God able to see when we are in serious trouble, but he is also able to intercede on our behalf. Just as Jesus caused the storm to cease for the disciples, he can cause our storms to cease. Jesus may not always elect to remove circumstances creating our storms, but with him at the helm, we are assured safe passage through the storm.
In a time before drones and spy satellites, author George Orwell published the novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, back in 1949. In the book, Orwell describes a political leader called Big Brother who kept his subjects under constant surveillance. The people where reminded of this fact by the phrase, “Big Brother is watching you.”
As a Christian I am son of God (Galatians 3:26) and Jesus Christ is my elder brother. I’m so glad that my Big Brother is watching me!
Note: This is my first post since I transferred by blog from a hosted WordPress site to a self-hosted site. The WordPress engineer who handled the transfer assured me my subscribers were transferred to my new site. I’d love to hear from some of you who subscribe just to ensure you made the trip!