Smooth Seas to Rest in God

“Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm.” Mark 4:39 New Revised Standard Version

The disciples freaked out, and I completely understand. The storm was sudden and violent, and the waves were washing into the boat. It was chaos on the seas, and Jesus was sleeping soundly.

Storms rarely come in life when things are rosy. In my life they come when things are already tense and difficult. Or maybe I just remember them that way. No, they come when, like the disciples, I am on the verge of something, breakdown or breakthrough.

Jesus had just been teaching in parables, difficult stories bordering on riddles that he then had to decipher to the disciples. (Mark 4:1-34) These are loaded stories about receiving the word and having faith.

Then came the storm, and Jesus was napping in the stern. I enjoy a Sunday nap after morning sermons, but I rarely take them in storms! Jesus simply was not concerned with the storm.

Reading the story from my desk, I want to have an abiding spirit like that, that is so secure in God’s will that I can nap in the storm. But the disciples just want to survive.

And when we just want to survive, we go into the fear mind and freak out. “Wake up! Don’t you care that we are dying?!?!”

When we freak out, God, Dallas Willard says, gives us what we want. And what the disciples wanted was an end to the threat. They got that, and a “dead calm.” When the winds die in a sailboat, then you have to row.

Jesus’ nap should have been an indication to his followers that everything was going to be okay, but instead it was another reason to panic. They did not trust Jesus, but rather, they got lost in the waves. There are several stories like this: Peter sinking, and the sons of Zebedee wanting to rain fire on the towns that rejected Jesus.

How do we learn to nap in the storm? Sleep in the stern? We don’t practice first when the winds are howling, but rather in the good seas of life. Practice abiding in and trusting Jesus and the God he rested in. Just sit down a couple of times a day and pray, “God, I trust you. I don’t get it. I don’t see you working. I don’t know what you are doing yet. But I trust you. Help me to rest into your will, your time, your justice, your strength.”

If you can learn in smooth seas to rest in God, you will soon find yourself whistling in the whirlwind and riding the waves.

In peace,