From the mountain Jesus speaks, and the crowd "is astonished at his teaching" (Matthew 7).
When Jesus leaves the multitudes those in need follow: A leper, a centurion whose servant is paralyzed and in torment. Folks stricken with physical ailments; some tortured by demons.
Now he enters the home of Peter where he sees his disciple's mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. It only takes one gentle touch of His hand to cool her body and dry her brow. Jesus is patient. He is kind. He's grown tired after giving so much of himself and seeks a place to rest his head, preferably alone.
Fast forward. He's on a boat, but not alone. (The disciples had spotted him getting into the boat and joined in.) One yawn, and the Son of God sleeps. The wind kicks up. The sky grows dark, and the disciples grow nervous as the eyes of their Savior remain closed. I imagine their self-talk: Don't worry. He'll open his eyes if and when there's something to worry about.
This coping mechanism works until violent waves crash against the boat and over their heads. In my minds-eye I see the disciples covered in water, and worry, and waking Jesus. "Lord, save us! We are perishing!" Jesus opens one eye long enough to say, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith" (Matthew 8: 25--26)?
Next he tells the wind and the sea to knock it off, mutters something about can't a guy get any sleep around here, and a raging sea grows calm.
Here's the take away for me.
I worry sometimes. I try not to worry. The disciples tried not to worry. I could read this passage with arrogance; question not only their faith but their intelligence. I mean, come on guys! Look at Jesus' track record. One miracle after another and you've yet to trust him with your lives?
Truth is, I've been in that boat. Sometimes I'm the disciple with a long list of miracles in my sweaty palm who dares to question whether or not Jesus is aware of the storm. The storm that threatens to break my heart and flood my iCalendar with so much water that no amount of rice can restore my plans for tomorrow.
Fear makes us forgetful if we let it. Fear whispers that God is unaware when life-sized storms drop softball sized hail over our fervent prayers.
Fear says we are alone in the boat, and if we do not take matters into our own hands we will surely drown as Jesus sleeps.
This is a lie. The eyes of God do not slumber. They are ever upon us. I rejoice when through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit, I am able to opt out of panic and rest with my Savior in the eye of the storm.
Journal entry 9.29.15. A single mother; still developing my "sea legs" after the divorce.
I lie in bed at night. Stare at the ceiling. I shut my eyes and attempt to lasso the untamed "whys" as they circle my bed in mid-air. I ponder. The eyes of the Lord do not slumber.
Some nights this is enough for me. I let my mind go. My body follows. I am asleep. Other times, I find rest in the assurace that I am not alone. I am not at the mercy of godless insomnia. I am at the mercy of a promise. The promise to be held when human efforts fail and a dream takes the shape of a nightmare.
When the sheer intensity of loss overtakes me, I ask God, who created me to love so passionately in the first place, to take hold of me. And I am held.
I can rest knowing that the Savior of the World is alongside me--staring at the ceiling. I can.
"In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength" (Isaiah 30: 15b).
We are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, June 11, 2019 @ 8:37 AM CDT
Golly! I last blogged in February. I sit. Open my laptop. Sign in. Position my fingers on the key board. Wait for it . . . nothing. Next thing I know it's April. I'm learning in my 50's that the greatest danger in always having something to say is actually believing I always have something to say.
It's the Lenten season. 40 days of repentance, prayer, and fasting to prepare our hearts for the coming of Easter. It's a season of self-examination and quiet reflection where the crooked places in our hearts are made straight in the merciful presence of God--if only we will bend.
Isaiah 42:16 has resonated with me for years. Rounding the fourth week of Lent this year it rings through my soul. A high-pitched sound that pierces my ego and gently gathers yet another fragment of my childhood, long held hostage by fear. With out-stretched arms I reach for my Redeemer the way small children signal the desire to be lifted and held. My hope in Christ is anchored, and in His mercy my soul fills with a new song of praise.
"I will lead the blind on a way they do not know; by paths they do not know I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked places straight."
More on "crooked places made straight" after Easter. Today, I leave you with an excerpt from The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri. I find his words so relevant to my journey of daily conversion that it's actually displayed on a wall in my breakfast nook. I invite you to ponder these cherished words and then reach toward heaven with childlike faith. Divine Mercy awaits.
We made our way along that lonely plain
like men who seek the right path they have lost
counting each step a loss till it's found.
When we had reached a place
where the cool shade
allowed the dew to linger on the slope,
resisting a while longer the suns rays,
my Master placed both of his widespread hands
gently upon the tender grass,
and I, who understood what his intention was,
offered my tear-stained face to him,
and he made my face clean
restoring its true color,
once buried underneath the dirt of hell.
You are not alone,
Published on Sunday, April 7, 2019 @ 9:50 AM CDT