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Sometimes my bifocals don’t focus so well. Take this morning, for example. I read something in Mark 4 that I’d never read before — probably because it wasn’t there before.
Upon Jesus’ command, He and the disciples were heading to the “other side,” traveling by boat. All of the sudden, a “great windstorm arose,” and the waves began beating into the boat, filling it with water.
The next verse — 38 — caught my attention. It says, “But He (Jesus) was in the ‘storm,’ asleep on a pillow.”*
“Asleep in the storm on a pillow?” Really? My first thought was, “Man, I’d like to be able to sleep in a storm on a pillow.”
I’m speaking metaphorically, of course. Physical storms — wind and rain — don’t bother me nearly as much as a good emotional storm.
Or a familial storm. Or a just-can’t-seem-to-get-this-under-control storm. Those are the storms that haunt me the most — the ones I want to slumber so soundly through that I awake refreshed and rested.
Unfortunately, most of the time, that’s not the case. However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It is indeed possible if I know and am convinced of a few things.
For instance, it was Jesus’ idea that He and the disciples “cross over to the other side.” Therefore, I must know and be convinced that my “storm” is not one of my own making, that I didn’t decide on my own to “cross over to the other side” when I wanted to. I must make sure that my “storm” is part of my seeking His plan for me.
I must also know and be convinced that I am doing everything in my power to accomplish His purpose in my storm. I don’t think the disciples sat idly by and watched as water poured into the boat. No, I’m sure they were active. They were busy physically doing everything they could to stay off the sea floor.
When Christ allows us to be in a storm of His making or allowing, He doesn’t expect us to sit down and wait for the wind and waves to blow over. We must be active, continuing to do His bidding and desire in the midst of the madness. We can’t just shut down and pretend that water’s not pouring into our boat. We must respond to the storm — but in different way than the disciples that night.
These experienced seagoing men had been in storms like this before, and evidently they’d always been successful in their plight. But this time, all their bending and bailing wasn’t working. This time was the last time. Finally, they awaken Christ, who’s on a pillow in the storm. He awakens and speaks to the wind and waves, which immediately cease.
He then turns His attention to His kids: “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
After everything they’d seen Him do, after everything they’d heard Him teach, they still lacked faith. They still feared the elements surrounding them more than they trusted the One who not only guided them into the storm, but was able to control it.
Oh my, how my own heart begs for His forgiveness even now for not believing in His control of my storms, for not totally trusting in His plan, for not sleeping soundly and securely in Him.
Is it just me, or are you in the same boat? I say we trust Him today, right now — sinking a stake deep in the ground so as to remember this moment we decided to cast aside our fear and believe Him. You with me?
Prayer: “Father, thank You. Thank You that You choose to speak through Your word to my heart in the midst of the storms. Thank You that I can rest in Your ways and trust in your goodness as I navigate these waters.”
* — The passage really said, “He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow.” Pretty cool how God can even use a “mis-bifocalling” issue to catch my attention!
Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and email@example.com.