Fast Asleep in the Storm

My husband is lying on the couch next to where I’m writing. He is sleeping, trying to fend off a summer cold. As I watch him, he is making funny faces and little sleeping noises. I have always been amazed that he can pretty much fall asleep instantly if he decides to. He just lays down, closes his eyes, and within about ten seconds he is fast asleep. I’m wondering if this is a quality peculiar to the male gender, or if it is just a gift that some are given.

There is a story in the Bible that I’m particularly fond of about Jesus falling asleep in the back of a boat and then sleeping through the middle of a storm. One of the reasons I like the story so well is that is demonstrates Christ’s absolute trust relationship with the Divine.

We learn through the story that it has been a long day—a day filled with people, teaching, and service. Jesus is tired. The disciples are going to cross the Sea of Galilee, a body of water known for it’s turbulent and unexpected storms. But tonight is quiet. The darkness and quiet of the night are just what is needed for the Master to get a few winks of needed sleep.

I don’t know how long they had been sailing before the storm hit, but it hit suddenly and they soon became desperate. The disciples who were able fishermen struggled to keep the boat from sinking. In their desperation they had forgotten all about the sleeping miracle worker in the back. They suddenly remembered and cried out for help. “Don’t you care that we are going to perish?!” they asked.

Christ calmly woke up, stood up, and called for peace. The storm instantly subsided and they found themselves rocking softly back and forth on the quieting water. Everyone was stunned.

Christ response is one of surprise. “ Where is your faith?” It’s a simple question but implies so much. “What do you think this is all about?” “In whom have you placed your trust?” “How can you be this desperate when I’m (the I Am) is right here?”

We are often caught in our own storms and quickly forget that we are never alone. We panic and are certain that we will perish in whatever storm currently threatens to swamp our boat. At times like these our faith just doesn’t seem big enough or real enough to pull us through. That’s the problem with our faith most of the time. We haven’t really learned to trust the one we place our faith in or we’ve placed our faith in a set of beliefs instead of a Savior.

That is what happened to the disciples. They still didn’t really know him. They were still learning to trust and place their loyalty in him. Old ways of thinking were still ingrained in their minds. They were used to traveling alone. All the while the Divine, the Creator, was right there in the boat with them.

Christ gave them the promise he gives to us, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Over and over he told them that the Kingdom of God, or the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand or within reach, very near. Paul explained this clearly when he said, “Christ lives in you.” This is truly the good news, the gospel. We are never alone when we invite Christ to live within us. No matter what storm we go through, we will never face it alone.

When we cling to a set of beliefs and think that these beliefs will save us, we are easily frightened and discouraged. We need a personal God—an indwelling God—so that we will never face anything alone. When we have Christ within our hearts, we can trust that we can make it through anything that comes our way.

Doctrine and creeds will never save us. Only the Christ power transforming our hearts will do the work. We need more than a “fire escape” religion or in this case, a “life boat” religion. We need a transforming relationship with God.

The invitation is always open. Jesus invites us, “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone will open it, I will come in and eat with them.” Oh, that reminds me, I have to run—suppers on and the Savior is waiting.