“Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep.”
If you’ll recall, Jesus and His disciples had gotten out into a boat. Then, all of a sudden, there is a crazy, violent storm that erupts. The footnotes put this ‘violent storm’ on par with an earthquake. Put yourself in the disciples’ sandals. You’ve followed this man onto a boat without question. Now you find yourself in said boat – not a yacht, probably a simple fisher’s boat – taking on water. The waves are crashing around you, the world is shaking, the scene is downright terrifying.
Like the quick flip of a switch, the answer to all of your problems occurs to you! No need to worry that we are taking on water or that the earth is shaking, we’ve got Jesus here with us! You set off to find Him, to seek His counsel, to share in His unshakeable peace and you find Him…snoozing.
The mother in me imagines myself in this scene and as I find Jesus asleep it takes all I have not to pull the sheets off His bed and shout at Him, “HOW CAN YOU BE SLEEPING AT A TIME LIKE THIS?!!? GET UP JESUS!!!! WE NEED YOU!!!!” Such a reaction may not, after all, have been far off from what the disciples felt.
But, oh, my merely human eyes and what they fail to see.
The fact of the matter is that Jesus was not swayed, anxious, or worried even when the earth shook and His very boat took on water. The storms raged around Him and still He slept. In this scene I imagine Jesus sleeping soundly, almost impossible to wake. You know that kind of sleep, the kind where you and your bed are finally reunited after a long trip away, complete with harrowing tales of travel woes just to get home. Jesus was that kind of asleep. Not even the winds and the waves woke Him. Why? Because He trusted. Not because He was some oversleeping oaf who couldn’t be bothered, but because He had no reason to worry. He trusts that the Father takes care of Him. He trusts that whatever happens is meant to be and He sleeps secure in that peace.
How much I’d like to be like Jesus, and how far I have to go. My world quakes, the waves of life throw themselves on my boat and I’ve begun to take on water. Me, on my own? I freak out. Panic sets in. Where are my buckets? Can I toss the water back in? Can I toss it out faster than I’m taking it on? How long will this last? What is the forecast? Will this storm ever stop?! Me, on my own? I need answers. I make plans, strategies. Jesus, though? He sleeps secure. He’s not running around the boat like a chicken with his head cut off as if the world is coming to an end, He just is. The storms scare me, they make me want to fill up every grain bin and store away every treasure I’ve got so that if and when (because I’m sure the storm is going to come!) the storms come, I’m ready. Jesus doesn’t store up or bring along extras. He multiplies. He takes what He needs and trusts that the rest will come. He trusts that the storm will stop, the earth will stop quaking and all shall be well. Not even the biggest storm at sea wakes Him because He knows that these things – the things we often get caught up in or distracted by – are not the things to fear at all.