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While Jesus Slept

As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” So they took Jesus in the boat and started out, leaving the crowds behind (although other boats followed). But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water.

Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?”

When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”
-Mark 4:35-41

Have you ever thought about this story?  I mean, how Jesus slept while a fierce storm ravaged the disciple's boat he was in with them, but he peacefully slept, until they woke him.

It is nice that Jesus saved the day, by rebuking the wind and waves, but I don't think that is the point of the story.  The point is having faith.  What is faith?  It is trusting Jesus.

Jesus had said, "let's cross over to the other side of the lake", and they grabbed a boat, and began the journey.  The next thing that happens, is that a dangerous storm hit them, while Jesus fell asleep.  The disciples freaked out.

The lesson is faith or trust.  We often want God's guidance.  Oftentimes he does not give it, because he wants us to take responsibility for living our lives through him, through what we already know and his life in our lives.  

However, there are times when God does guide us, when God does make clear what he wants us to do.  This story is one of those times.  Jesus clearly said, "let's cross to the other side".

The disciples had a clear word from the Lord to stand on in faith and exercise faith from.  In the face of the storm, denial or stoicism is not what was called for, but the exercise of faith.  

In this test, they started to take matters into their own hands, including shouting a rebuke in Jesus' face.  Here is a picture of unbelieving believers, who end up rebuking God and telling him what to do, in their panic, fueled by fear.

Lovers do get angry at their beloved, sometimes, when they don't understand what they are doing or not doing.  Calling out for help in the storm, when he said that he would take care of you is ok.  

What is awesome about Jesus is that he does wake up and he does take care of them.  Although he rebukes their unbelief, he does it in love, and I believe the story ends with the disciples learning something.

In our lives, when we face storms, we can be encouraged that Jesus is with us, even if he is sleeping.  And if he is sleeping, it does not mean he does not care, but he is teaching us to rest in God, no matter what happens to us.  We need to experience rest in God, not just unconsciousness, when we sleep.

I found the painting above here.


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