Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sleeping Through the Storms

We could all probably learn a lesson from Jesus as He slept soundly in that boat. It had been a long day and He and the disciples were now crossing the Sea of Galilee, accompanied by a few other boats (see Mark 4:35-41). And, all of a sudden, a great windstorm arose, and waves came beating down upon their boat. It was taking on water.

The disciples, frantic, no doubt tried to remedy the situation themselves. But their efforts were in vain. And then they remembered Jesus. So they frantically looked around in that little boat, wondering what had happened to Him, when they suddenly noticed him in the stern of the boat, fast asleep.

Now, you and I, sitting on our couches in the comfort of our climate controlled homes, can objectively see that the disciples should have taken note of Jesus’ attitude and had their anxiety relieved. It is plain to see now. But when the storm is raging, and the waves are crashing down, in the moment it is sometimes hard to be objective. It is hard to size up the situation with a calm and collected perspective and realize that, if Jesus isn’t concerned, we probably don’t have to be either.

And that was what happened with the disciples. Their hearts overwhelmed with fear, they woke Jesus up—even though their Lord was exhausted after a full itinerary and He desperately needed sleep. They woke Him up and announced to Him that they were perishing. I don’t know how long it took for Jesus to size up the situation, but He became disappointed with the disciples’ response. They had not learned a lesson on faith from Him. If He could enjoy peaceful rest in a horrific storm, could they not do the same? Such was an indication that they had no faith.

And yet, our Lord, in His mercy, didn’t force His faithless disciples to learn the lesson the hard way. He didn’t shrug His shoulders, go back to sleep, and allow His disciples to ride out the storm. He did step in and calm the waves and howling wind. He did bring peace—all be it, superficial peace—to the hearts of these disciples, hoping that they would, in time, learn the lessons of faith.

And what about us? Will we, first of all, take God at His Word and believe that when He says, “Don’t be anxious” (Philippians 4:6), He will save our hearts from anxiety—even, and especially, through the storm? And then, beyond that, will we grant Jesus peace and rest through the storm—desiring His ultimate well-being over and above ours?

1 comment:

Jonathan said...

What a great example of Jesus' compassion. He helped their unbelief. That's the kind of God we serve. He wants to give us perfect faith in Him that can withstand any storm, yet He only gives us storms that our faith can handle. Not only is He in the boat, but when we get desperate, He'll calm the storm.