Giving Control to a Sleeping Jesus
“That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown? He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41, NIV)
Boy, is this coronavirus teaching me a thing or two about my control issues.
For those who don’t know, I’m supposed to get married in June. And by that, I mean, it’s still
happening, but we’re getting to the point where some difficult decisions have to be made. Me, I was always the girl who dreamed about her wedding: the fairytale day that’s all about me and the love of my life taking the biggest step together. I grew up dreaming about every aspect of the day from the food and flowers to the music and the dress.
Go figure that with my luck, an unprecedented, apocalyptic turn of events that no one could have seen or anticipated comes along to derail the whole thing. There have been more than a few moments where I’ve thought to myself, “Why me? Why MY wedding? Out of every other couple in the whole world from the past, present, and future… WHY ME???”
This is only exasperated by constant questions from friends and family as to what my fiance and I are going to do. And most of the time, I’ve been very calm and collected. This is not something that’s in my control. This is not something anyone could have foreseen or could have planned for. But as the day draws closer where our venue is going to tell us whether or not we have to reschedule, (April 24th, to be exact) I’m beginning to get a little antsier.
And then I read through the story from our key verse. I know the story; I’ve heard it a thousand times, but somehow, I’m at a moment in my life where I understand the disciples in the boat just a little better. In the story, Jesus decides to sail across the Sea of Galilee to the other side after preaching to a crowd of people on the shore. For those who aren’t aware, the Sea of Galilee has a reputation for getting sudden, violent storms with no warning. So as Jesus and the disciples are making their way across this sea in a sailboat, a storm comes upon them that threatens to drown them.
The rain was beating down on them, the wind was blowing everything about, and scripture says that the water was coming into the boat so quickly that they were all afraid of sinking. In their fear, the disciples panic and wake up Jesus saying, “Don’t you care that we’re going to drown? Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” And with a calm that only our Price of Peace is capable of, Jesus stood up, rebuked the storm, and commanded the wind and the waters to be still.
There are a few things I notice: First of all, I relate to the disciples. As much as I want to believe I wouldn’t react that way, I’m sure that in the thick of the moment and the danger of the storm, I’d be right alongside them. “Why me, Jesus? Didn’t you call me daughter? Why would you bring me here and then not come to my rescue when I need you? Would you really bring me this far only to let me die now?” It’’s a human reaction that in the darkness of a storm, we tend to forget the light of our Savior. In the wicked, whipping winds of a maelstrom, we forget the promises of the Father. When our lives seem to be taking on so much water that it feels like we’re sinking, we forget the steadfast peace of the Lord.
We forget that before the storm, before they even left the shore on the other side, Jesus said, “Let’s go to the other side.” There was no uncertainly in His voice or ill-intentions in his plan. He clearly said to the disciples that His plan was to go to the other side. It wasn’t to die en route. It wasn’t to lose a few disciples along the way because He regretted asking so many people to be in His posse. If for nothing else, the disciples could have trusted that Jesus, the Son of God, was not going to meet His end in the midst of a storm; not when there were bigger things for the Kingdom of Heaven at stake and yet to happen.
And even in my worry over the fact that my wedding may not look like what I always dreamed and wanted it to be, I’m trying to remind myself that even when it seems like Jesus is sleeping, He is always in control. A sleeping Jesus is still Jesus at work, even when I can’t see the work being done. So I might turn on the news, or go to the grocery store, or log in to my work-at-home job and feel like Jesus is sleeping while the world spins out of control, but as children of the Lord, we have to trust that He still holds the whole world in the palm of His hand.
So yeah, the moment I read the part where Jesus says to the disciples, “Do you still have no faith?” I have to take a moment. I have to let that conviction wash over me and change my heart. Because yes, my wedding day is very much in the air as far as who might come and what it might look like, but my God has done more with so much less in the past for me. He’s kept me safe in a foreign country.
He’s provided for me in moments where I didn’t have any way out for myself. He’s comforted me through my deepest heartaches and been my dearest friend in the moments I was truly alone.
So today, I hear Him whispering in my heart: “Let’s go to the other side. Do you have the faith that I’ll get us there?” My answer is yes. I know that He will deliver us all safely to the other side of this pandemic. I know that He is working, even in the moments it seems like He’s sleeping on me. And I know that even in the sacrifice of what I planned and wanted, He’s giving me the most adventurous, romantically thrilling adventure in marrying my best friend in the most uncertain of times; and even still, Jesus is still at the wheel.