Sleeping Through the Storm
When Fierce Winds and Crashing Waves Test Our Faith
Storms are unpredictable. A fierce thunderstorm can spring up with little notice. It may catch us while we are running errands, mowing the yard, or getting in our car—already late to an appointment. Storms cause us to stop and assess if it’s safe to continue or if we need to sit it out.
The different perspectives in Matthew 8, Mark 4, and Luke 8 provide insight on the story of Jesus, His disciples, and a storm. Six facts can be concluded from these accounts. First, the storm came suddenly without forewarning and they were not prepared. Second, it was a furious storm. Imagine the kind we see in the Southwest around tornado season. Third, the waves swept over the boat. Mark says the waves broke over the boat and it was nearly swamped. Luke says the boat was actually being swamped and the disciples were in great danger. Fourth, the disciples responded by crying out to God. They implored Him to save them, questioning if He cared whether they drowned. Sixth, Jesus took action. He got up and spoke. With His words, He rebuked the wind and the waves. Creation responded to His powerful directive and all was completely and utterly calm.
These biblical accounts make it clear that God has the power to rebuke any storm. Although the Bible tells of a physical storm, we have learned this is true with the storms in our lives, as well. When we find ourselves in the midst of trouble and strife we cry out to God. We “shake Him awake” and expectantly wait for His miraculous intervention.
In this life, each of us must navigate our own boat. Some of our boats are shiny and strong, others are a bit less impressive. Some of them have already weathered rough storms and are now patched up and fortified. Others, with great navigation skills, are really good at predicting storms, so they change their course to avoid them. What is the status of your boat? Is Jesus always aboard?
Having Jesus aboard your boat is the most amazing thing that will ever happen in your life. Once it happens, there is purpose, direction, and a destination. However, we must recognize that having Jesus aboard the boat doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t encounter storms along the journey.
What happens when you feel that Jesus is sleeping on your boat? When He opts to take a nap in the middle of one of your most difficult storms? You feel the waves start to crash and the rain begin to pour down making it difficult to see. The wind rattles and shakes your entire being.
Have you felt like this during a storm in your life? Have you felt the rain pelt your face and the wind shake your foundation? I have. One thing happens, then another, and if feels like waves are repeatedly crashing over me. These waves have the audacity to break against me even after I have given my life to Jesus.
Matthew 28:20 says, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Jesus makes this promise and I believe this. I believe He is with us no matter where—no matter when.
But have you ever felt like He isn’t there? It seems He is asleep, not answering prayers, intervening, or saving. It is almost like He is asleep in the middle of the storm. We ask, “Don’t you care if we drown? Save us! Save us from the pain and the hurt we are going through. Rescue us! You have the power.”
A Matter of Faith
Think about this. If Jesus had kept sleeping, would they have drowned? Do you think the boat would have capsized, sending them to their demise? I don’t think it would have. I don’t think the disciples nor Jesus needed to be saved from the storm. He stepped in and saved them so He could assess their faith.
While God has the power to rebuke storms, He also has the power to produce calm. He may choose to calm your environment, as He did with the disciples, or He may choose to calm you. As your faith grows, or perhaps in order to grow your faith, He may choose to sleep during your storm. Let that sink in.
I know it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense, but there are times when we pray earnestly and receive no apparent resolution. Because of this, I believe there may be times when we must endure the storms of life without the rebuke of the winds and waves.
When we claim to have faith, we assert the fact that He has the power to get us through any storm and do what He promised in our lives (Romans 4:20-21). Regardless of the chaos, the pain, or the losses we may endure, Jesus doesn’t leave us. He is still there, even if it seems like He is asleep. His presence is simply enough to bring calm into our life. Trust Him, even when the wind picks up and the waves begin to crash.
Through It All
Kristene DiMarco, of Bethel Music, includes these words in her song, It is Well, a modern rendition of the hymn:
Far be it from me to not believe,
Even when my eyes can't see
So let go my soul and trust in Him,
The waves and wind still know His name
Through it all, through it all,
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all,
It is well
Isaiah 40:28 says that, “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” Isaiah 58:9 assures us, “Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and He will say: Here am I.”
When you have Jesus in your boat, you can be confident that even if the waves, wind, and rain come, He is right by your side. He will never tire, even if He appears to be asleep. He will always answer your cry for help with His presence and the power to produce calm, whether in the storm or in your heart.
Although storms are often viewed negatively, they also bring a sense of cleansing. They wash away the grime and gunk in the atmosphere. They produce rainbows. And, they never stop the sun from shining. There is always sunshine after the storm. It may take a few hours or days to see it, but the sun is always there. You see, the sun, like God, never left. It was there high above the clouds the entire time. Storms can obscure the sun for a while, but they can never take its place.
Kristina Pascual Lockhart is the Managing Editor of the Record and Associate Communication Director of the Southwestern Union. In addition to navigating through storms, she enjoys hiking and traveling.