Last winter I took my two boys and my nephew to visit my parents for the weekend. They were pretty excited for the chance to go to grandma and grandpa’s together, but not necessarily excited about the drive. To say that my boys dislike their carseats would be an understatement. It’s like they get in there and honestly believe that I will never let them out again. I tried to leave around nap time, but it did me little good. My nephew fell asleep just a couple minutes out of town and slept until I stopped a couple of hours later…my boys were a different story. By the time I reached our stop they were both screaming. At the top of their lungs. It was fantastic. I tried giving them snacks, telling them we were almost there, turning up their movie…nothing worked. They just kept screaming. The fascinating part was that my nephew never flinched. He didn’t bat an eyelash when my boys started a competition to see who had better lungs…he slept through the whole thing. When I stopped, he woke up and just looked around completely oblivious to the chaos that had been going on five seconds earlier. I wish I had the ability to sleep through that sort of madness.
The story reminds me of a great quote I read a while back…”If you’re going through stress, remember Jesus prayed while other slept and He slept while others worried. He’s got you.” Mark chapter four tells the story of Jesus sleeping through a great storm while He was crossing over a body of water with His disciples. This storm came up after they were on the boat and while the water pounded against the boat and began to fill it up, the disciples started to panic. They went to Jesus for help and found Him asleep in the stern…so they woke Him and said, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” In other words…
“How can You possibly be asleep at a time like this?”
“Don’t You care that we’re in this boat because of You?”
“Don’t You care that we wouldn’t be here if we hadn’t followed you here?”
“You wanted to cross over to the other side, and now You’re sleeping silently…we’re barely holding on here!!”
I’ve been there. Not in a boat during a storm, thank the Lord. It takes every ounce of my courage to get in a completely reliable boat on the calmest day of the year…a wooden ship in a storm? No thanks. But I’ve found myself in the middle of storms in life wondering how on earth I got here, why God seems to be quiet when really He should be fighting for me, when I am waiting for Him to calm the wind and waves in my life. When I take a step of faith because I know without a doubt in my mind that it’s what God is calling me to do and the next thing I know I’m standing in the middle of a mess with no way out and I just want to yell…”I’m here because of You! Don’t You care that I’m in this boat because of You?” That I spoke up for the convictions I have been given and got blasted by those who disagree with me? That we took a huge risk and step of faith and now here we are standing in the middle of what just looks like failure? That we thought we did what You asked us to and now all we’ve done is let other people down and have a mess we can’t clean up on our own?
Then I read further in the story and remember that after they woke Jesus, He calmed the storm…and followed that up by asking them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” In other words, “You should’ve been sleeping through this storm! Why did you let this get to you? How can you have enough faith to step on the boat with me, but not enough to believe that I can get you through the storm to the other side?”
I’m guilty of laying awake when I’ve been in the middle of trials, wondering how I’d ever get through, wondering what I could possibly do to fix things. I’m guilty of letting my fear and frustration get the best of me and assuming that God has just left me to fend for myself and that He doesn’t care when it seems like I’m going under. And the whole time He’s just waiting for me to trust Him to see me through. He’s waiting for me to remember that He can see the other side of the storm and it’s way better than what I left behind. That He cares even more for the people I feel I’ve let down and that He can take care of them and me.
I don’t want to get to the end of a trial and look back on it remembering that I spent the whole time worrying and complaining. I don’t want to get to the end and have Jesus look at me and say…”See? How did you not know that I had this all along? Why didn’t you believe that I had this under control the whole time?” I want to get to the end and have memories of peace. I want to remember laying down at night unafraid, having sweet, peaceful sleep (Psalm 3:24).
I want to sleep through every storm, trusting that He will speak to the wind and the waves at just the right time.