Fearless Fridays: I can’t sleep!

“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping” (Matthew 8:24 NIV).

Jesus was asleep? Say what?!

It says the waves swept over the boat. How did Jesus stay asleep and dry during the storm?

Maybe He would say, “Nothing is impossible with God!”

In Mark 4:38, it describe Jesus sleeping in the stern of the boat on a cushion. The stern, or the very back of the boat, is typically where a boat is controlled from.

So, Jesus is in a position of control and sleeping on the job—at least, this is what the disciples thought.

“The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’” (Matthew 8:25). Mark describes the same scene with the panicked disciples “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (4:38).

How are you sleeping?

Suddenly there was a storm.

Typically, I like to fall asleep to a booming thunderstorm. But in a boat on the middle of a lake? No, thank you!

I remember a ferry ride between the North and South Islands of New Zealand when the water was very choppy. My stomach didn’t enjoy that adventure. I wanted off.

In light of all the “suddenly-ies” happening around us, to us, and even to our families, how are you sleeping?

Sounds like a crazy question, huh?!

For me, how quickly I fall asleep depends on the conversations I had before bed, what I watched, listened to, or even read.

Restlessness in the middle of “suddenly-ies” is normal. Our bodies tell us a lot about what’s going on internally—mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

And questions like, “Don’t you care?” seem appropriate.

I wonder if those types of prayers would help us sleep? The kind that use all the words and emotions we stored up through the day, week, or even season. Even if it means screaming, ”Don’t You care?!” into our pillow.

Sort of like, Lord, if I’m gonna be awake right now, so are You!

And God says, No problem! I’ll meet with you anytime day or night.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;” (Psalm 121:1-3).

Jesus, being fully God and fully man, needed to rest, but I also wonder if occasionally He had one eye opened just to see the disciples’ response to the storm.

Where is your faith?

In response to their panic and questions, Jesus asks them two questions:

“Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25) and “Why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26a).

Many times, my faith is located in my ability to figure things out, to solve problems, discover a practical solution, even overcome a challenge in my strength, etc. Maybe you can relate.

At any point during that storm, I wonder if there was a disciple who wondered, If I’m to follow Jesus, does that mean it would be a good idea for me to sleep, too?

It’s easier to focus on the storm, the suddenly-ies, the waves coming into the boat, than to focus on what Jesus is up to. I confess, this can be true of me.

But is Jesus afraid? Is He panicked? Pacing?

Seriously, take a moment and imagine all those circumstances, worries, fears, anxieties, as waves crashing into your boat.

Where is Jesus in your boat? What does He say? What do His eyes say? What happens next?

Are we moving from fear to fear?

“Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm” (Matthew 8:26b).

I feel myself take a deep breath as I read this verse.

What would it look like to change positions in our boat from anxiety fear to awestruck fear of the Lord?

In a moment, everything changed because Jesus—the Son of God—intervened.

The disciples went from asking Jesus if He even cared to recognizing the winds and the waves obeyed Him.

A definite shift in perspective.

Let’s venture to the back of the boat with Jesus. He already knows about the storms we’re in, the ones that have passed, and the ones still to come.

He says, Come on over here, so we can look at things from a different angle. I know all you carry. Scream to Me—even in your pillow. Because I want nothing more than to give you the best sleep you ever had. The sweet kind, surrounded by peace in the midst of a storm (portions paraphrased from Matthew 11:28).

Join me in exploring what the Lord says about anxiety-driven fear and also fearing (being in awe of…) HIM. I look forward to sharing my discoveries here. Join me here again next Friday! And better yet, bring a friend!

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