Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sleeping in the Boat with Jesus

Do you ever get tired of living in the ‘storms’ of life?  I know I have! I have been asked that question often by other women and what I have tried to do in my own life is learn to sleep in the boat like Jesus did when He was in a storm.  (Please know that by no means am I always successful in resting in Him, but it is something that I try to be intentional about.) 
Let me explain what I mean about sleeping in the boat like Jesus.  In Matthew 8:25-26, Jesus calms the storm as the disciples start freaking out thinking they are going to die.  “Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?" Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”  Matthew 8:25-26
I freaked out just like the disciples did.
So here is our Savior sleeping in the boat during a storm.  He is not fearful, nor anxious.  Jesus is not panicking, nor is He worried or concerned; in fact, He is so relaxed about the entire situation that He is taking a nap, on a boat, in a storm!  As I picture in my mind Jesus and the boys in this scenario, I can’t help but smile thinking about the situation.  I wonder why on earth would the disciples be screaming, “Lord, save us!  We are perishing!”  Don’t they know that Jesus is the One who controls the waves? “He calms the storm, so that its waves are still.”  Psalm 107:29  I mean, after all, He IS the Savior of the world and the Creator of the Universe! Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”  Colossians 1:16,17 (Actually, no the disciples didn’t know who He was.)  “So the men marveled, saying, "Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Matthew 8:27  (I guess after reading that verse, I shouldn’t be so hard on the boys.)
As believers, if we have been in the storms for any length of time, we are probably very aware of the above verses.  But let’s look further into this passage to see exactly what Jesus was doing with the disciples. 
Jesus had a destination in mind.  Don’t think for a minute that He just decided to go on some afternoon boating trip with the men because that was not the case.  Nor did He have plans to go sightseeing like a tourist when He got to the other side either.   The Lord had a plan and a purpose for that trip.  He knew exactly what He was doing when He got in the boat to cross that sea and He knew that the storm was coming as well. “He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm.”  Job 26:12   Not only was He taking the disciples to the other side, but He also had business to take care of while He was there…His Father’s business, that is.  “When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.”  And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?"  Matthew 8:28,29 
Let that sight sink in for just a moment.  Not just one, but two demon-possessed men coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce!  Can you even imagine what was going through the disciples' minds?  One minute they think they are going to die because they might drown from the raging storm at sea and then the next minute they are staring at the faces of two demon-possessed men!  Hmmm, why I think that is a lovely way to spend an afternoon, don’t you?  (sarcasm noted.) If I had a day like that, I'd be mentally and physically exhausted, plus it would send me over the edge.  I hope the boys at least had the chance to stop off at Starbucks before they headed back into the boat!  (I have a tendency to be an emotional eater and a nice decaf, iced mocha would bring me lots of comfort! Although we all know Where the True Source of Comfort comes from.)
Wow, we think we got it bad with our trials…imagine having a day like that!  (Please note:  the Bible does not mention in this passage how long it took the disciples to get to the other side.  It could have taken more than a day.) 
As the boys witnessed all that took place in those instances, you know their faith in the Messiah must have increased. God does the same with us as He takes us through trials.  He performs miracles in our own lives all the time and He is wanting us to trust Him more and more.
The Lord has you in His boat as well and He has a course mapped out for you too.  He has a destination in mind.  Perhaps you are in the midst of sailing the ocean sea right now and the storm that you are in is raging or you have reached the other side and now you are dealing with even bigger issues.  But just like the disciples, Jesus was always there with them and He is with us as well. 
It is calm in the eye of the storm.
My encouragement to you when you are faced with those huge waves is to learn to sleep in the boat like Jesus.  You are resting in the promises of the Word of God and you are putting your complete faith in Him even when things look like they can’t get any worse. 
Here's comes the unfortunate part: it is called human nature. It is much easier to look at our circumstances rather than to look at the promises found in the Word of God.  I know, because I did just that the other day!  I freaked out like the disciples did.  
Here’s the story of how I woke Jesus up and started screaming asking Him to save me!  (If you haven’t been following my story, you can read it here at, Are Trials Really Good for Us?)  
We had just gotten a call from the real estate agent representing the Bank and she said the Bank is offering us some cash to move out of our house in 30 days.  Did I say I freaked out?  Because I did and I slept only 3 hours that nightSeeing how we are cash-challenged right now, it was great to hear that the Bank was going to offer us money to move out, but in the meantime, we do not have any money to pay for the first month's rent and a deposit for a new place.  We needed money before we moved out AND we needed to find a place that would rent to us!  Our situation looked bleak.  The next morning I headed off to church to serve for VBS and while there I saw my dear friend and I told her of the news.  Then I cried.  I knew Jesus would take care of us but I couldn’t keep my eyes on Him and I was having such a difficult time resting in Him…I kept trying but the waves of my storm looked enormous!  
Over and over in my mind that day I would remind myself to sleep in the boat like Jesus and here were my thoughts: 
“Don’t worry.” 
“The Lord will take care of it.” 
“He will show up and help us.  I don’t know how, but I know He will.”  
"He is the Miracle Maker." 
"Get my eyes off of the situation and go serve Him."
“Keep my mind on Him.”  You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!  Isaiah 26:3
That was my spirit-talk that morning. That was me trying as best as I could to sleep in the boat with Jesus during my storm.  If I didn't do that I would have crumbled. Most likely I would have left the day of serving in VBS so I could serve myself, or should I say, cater to my feelings of worry and anxiety; which produces nothing except more doubt.
That morning friends prayed for me. Call on me in prayer and I will show you great and mysterious things that you do not know about.” Jeremiah 33:3 
Later that day Jesus rebuked the winds and the waves of my storm!  (Hello people, that’s less than 24 hours of God interceding on our behalf!)  The Lord moved incredibly quick and calmed the sea.  Maybe because He knew I was tired of sailing in shark-infested waters for so many years and I was now becoming sea sick!  It's a beautiful story of God’s hand of faithfulness.  The Miracle Maker showed up once again.  (You can read more about the Miracle Maker here at, God is Bigger Than Our Credit Score.) 
Oh, why did I worry? Hadn't He shown me enough miracles that I needn't not fret again?
Here's some application for you:  
Trust and faith were being built in the disciples' lives that day when they were in the storm.   Jesus reveled to them Who He was when He calmed the sea.  (He wasn't just another one of their fishing buddies, nor was He just a good teacher...He was showing them that He was the Messiah!)  The disciples needed to see that, because later they were faced with even more difficulties when the encountered the demon-possessed men.  One of the reasons why Jesus took them through those things was so when He left this earth the disciples would testify of all that Christ had done.  He was preparing His boys to go out and preach the Good News and build His church.
Trust and faith are being built in your life and mine as we go through the storms as well.  Jesus reveals Himself to us when He performs miracles in our lives too, but some miracles that we experience are unfortunately attached to our storms. We need to be reminded that Jesus is our Savior and Messiah so we can go out and share the Good News and build His church while we are still here on earth, because that, my friend, is our purpose in life "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." John 12:32
When I have more time to write I will share with you how God moved in our lives.  But for now, I have some packing to do!
Learn to sleep in the boat with Jesus, 

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