A Jesus Who Sleeps

  And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?'” Mark 4:38

Life has been crazy for me this past year. It has literally felt like a series of storms raging out of control. One right after the other. There has been very little stillness, but only what has felt like pure chaos being allowed to run rampant all over my life. As soon as one storm ends another storm begins. It’s in these seasons that I find my heart aching for God to speak those words He spoke for his disciples in one of their most overwhelming moments, “Peace, be still.” That’s all I’ve wanted. Peace and stillness. In fact, that’s all the disciples wanted. They wanted their God to arise so that their chaos would cease. But what do you do when the source and the solution to your storm is seemingly sleeping right through it? What is the correct response to a life that is out-of-order and a God that seems out of contact?

You see, the disciples were terrified. Their lives were in actual danger. The winds were out of control. The waves were tossing them back and forth and water was threatening to sink them at any moment. They were completely in over their heads, and yet their only saving grace was sleeping comfortably on a cushion as if life was grand. Have you ever been there? Simultaneously surrounded by the peace-threatening waves of life and a silent God? If you are anything like me and the disciples, then it’s in these moments that we often find ourselves trying to wake the heart of our sleeping Savior with questions of our value to Him:

Jesus, wake up! Do you not care that we are perishing?

Jesus, wake up! Am I not important to you?

Jesus wake up! Can’t you see that I’m overwhelmed?

Jesus wake up! Pay attention to what is going on in my life and do something about it!

That’s what the disciples were doing. They were trying to arouse the attention of Jesus so that their peace could be restored and their comfort renewed. But, was waking Jesus to end the storm, the only way the disciples could have had peace? Is that what we are called to do in our storms? You see, we often act as if the only way for us to have peace and comfort in our trials, is to get the attention of God long enough for Him to call a “cease-fire” to end it. But, you see, the craziest part about this story to me, is not the fact that the winds and waves ultimately obeyed Jesus. It’s the fact that Jesus showed us that it is actually possible to sleep comfortably in the middle of a storm. Jesus felt the wind and waves rocking them. He was probably even wet from the water that was overflowing into the small boat, and yet He slept comfortably on His cushion not bothered by any of it. Why? Because He knew who He was.

“And being aroused, he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind died down and became perfectly calm.” Mark4:39

Jesus awoke and immediately rebuked the storm. He knew His power and authority and promptly acted in it. He knew who He was and that the storm was nothing in comparison to Him. You see, He slept comfortably because He had no reason not to. Whether awake or sleep, He had no need to feel threatened by anything or anyone. His comfort flowed out of his confidence. His peace flowed out of his position. Friends, even when it seems like our God is sleeping through our storms, we have to understand that He is still God. He has not been dethroned. His power has not been subdued in His silence. You see, just like Jesus, our comfort has to flow out of our confidence. Our peace has to flow out of our position. Our position in a boat with a God that can bring chaos to order with one simple word. He’s the reason why He slept comfortably and He’s the reason why we can too!

But, how? How do we become people who sleep soundly on cushions in the midst of the crazy? Well, I’m learning that it is by resting in the power and authority of the One who is sleeping with us. You see, the disciples missed something that we often miss as well. They missed the opportunity for resting with Jesus instead of waking Him. What if, instead of trying to get his attention to rescue them from the storm, they just pulled up a pillow next to Him and allowed Him to hold them through it.  I wonder if that is the kind of faith that Jesus was looking for in them that day? You see, I decided recently that I was no longer going to seek rescue from the Lord, but instead I was going to seek refuge with the Lord. I decided that I was just going let Him hold me through this season and ask Him to give me eyes to marvel at His ability to comfort me in it, as much as I marvel at his ability to deliver me from it.

Friends, if we are never sick then we can never marvel at His healing. If we are never in need, then we can never marvel at when He provides.  You see, it’s not always about us being saved from the storm. Sometimes it’s about the storm opening our eyes to a God that wants to save us. Sometimes we need the storm to persist so that we can learn to see and value the comforting arms of Jesus in it. Friends, it’s about us acknowledging that He is in the boat with us and that we are not alone. He is not blind to the storm, nor is He subject to it. And if He can find rest, then that means that there is rest to be found. So, the next time a relentless storm hits, instead of waking Him for deliverance, let’s use that storm as an opportunity to climb into the arms of our Savior. Let’s use it to rest in the confidence that He is totally in control and that this is simply our opportunity to watch Him prove it.

Questions to Journal Through

  1. Maybe you are in a storm right now. Think through what you know to be true about the character and power of God. Write those down as powerful reminders as to why you can rest in your storm.
  2. Maybe you are always seeking rescue from your storms. Pray about and journal through some practical ways you can begin to seek refuge in your God.
  3. Make a list of all the ways you can see the hand of God in your current storm. What part of His character is He trying to show you through your pain? Spend some time thanking Him for the grace to see it.

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