It was about three in the morning, or at least I think it was something like that. To be honest, I was having a hard time getting my eyes to focus on the clock. Mom’s health had deteriorated to where she needed to go to the bathroom every two to three hours, both day and night, and she needed lots of help getting there in time… And, unfortunately, sometimes we didn’t get there in time.
The fact that my eyes were stubbornly pointing in two different directions didn’t help matters. We’d been running on adrenalin for too long. Delay after delay kept pushing back the next surgery that might help her regain some use of her body and some normalcy of life (not to mention some quality sleep). In the mean time, we were both starting to buckle under the strain.
Exhaustion was setting in, and, in the wee morning hours, it was too late to rescind my decision to care for Mom myself tonight instead of scheduling a home health aide. Hindsight’s 20/20, isn’t it? The inescapable truth of the matter was that Mom needed help, and I was the only one around to give it.
I swung my feet over the side of the bed, and my deep bone-aching weariness warred with my semi-conscious mind. My brain told me to hurry up. I had to get going to avoid the unpleasantness of another late night cleanup, but my body hurt. From the pit of my stomach radiated an inaudible scream that ripped like nails on a chalkboard through every throbbing muscle. “Just go back to sleep!” it shrieked. “You’re too tired to be helping anyone!”
Stuck on the edge of the bed, unable to move, I began to pray out of desperation.
I didn’t understand why any of this was happening. I didn’t know why Mom had to be in such poor health. And here I, and so many others, had been praying for her healing. I just couldn’t understand why helping her and loving her through this whole ordeal had to hurt so much. Most of all, I didn’t know how I was going to keep my eyes open… I had absolutely no answers.
Then into that silence stepped a light whisper of peace. It came and rested on my heart and mind like the gentle reassurance of a loving embrace. I felt, rather than heard, a voice say to me, “It’s okay, I was tired too.”
What happened next was totally bizarre. Even though I was suddenly jarred wide awake, at that moment I saw something that felt far too vivid and surreal to be a dream. There, on an expansive lake, was a little boat that was fighting just to stay afloat. The boat was pummeled again and again by angry white-capped waves that leaped up from a massive storm. All of the people in the boat were freaking out, except for one person.
Jesus was passed out cold in the back of the boat. He was completely exhausted. For days, he’d been traveling and speaking to the crowds that followed him everywhere about how much their Heavenly Father loved them.
Wherever he went, people brought their friends and loved ones who where sick, disabled, and dying. Out of his great love for each individual, Jesus healed the sick and the lame, and even reversed death itself. But while God remained in human form, he himself suffered the pain that comes with living in a human body. He gave of himself until his aching feet, sore muscles, and involuntarily closing eyes could do no more. He then signaled his disciples, his closest friends, to get the boat ready. He needed to rest, and he could sleep in the boat as they traveled to the next town.
But Jesus couldn’t get any uninterrupted sleep either. Exhausted and numb to the world, the sleeping figure of Jesus lay in the back of the vessel, completely insensible of the wildly pitching boat underneath him. His brain didn’t even register that he was slowly getting soaked by the rain and the water collecting around him. He just slept on, until one of his panicked followers shook him awake.
Jesus didn’t want to wake up. Every inch of his body screamed for him to just go back to sleep. After all, it takes more than a little storm to kill the God of the universe… But Peter, John, James, Andrew, and so many others needed him in the midst of that storm. It couldn’t wait. None of them could help themselves. It was now or never, so Jesus woke up.
With the utterance of just a few commanding words, the waters went dead still, the wind dropped like it had never existed, and Jesus turned to his followers and friends.
Jesus was so alone at that moment. Not a soul on that boat understood. They thought he’d slept through the storm because he didn’t care what happened to them. In reality, if he hadn’t cared, he never would have been in that boat, much less come down to earth in the first place.
He could have forgone the blisters on his feet, the hunger pangs, the aching muscles, and the constant weariness. In short, Jesus could have just stayed at home, but he came down here because he cared. He knew the storms we’d be facing, both literal and figurative, and he climbed on board with us just so he could be with us to calm those storms.
The proof that we are all incredibly dear to him was standing right in front of the disciples that day. Here was God with a pulse, and whether or not they understood or appreciated what Jesus was doing for them didn’t matter. Jesus loved them anyway, and he would continue to love them to death, literally, on a cross.
I’d read about this incident on the lake many times in the Bible (check out the book of Mark 4:35-41 if you’d like to read it yourself), and, to be perfectly honest, I’d always been as clueless as the disciples. I mean, who sleeps through a storm, anyway? I understood Jesus was God and that he had the ultimately clear conscience. He’d never committed a crime that could trouble his sleep, and he had the safety and security that comes from being the all-powerful God of creation. I could appreciate that Jesus had every reason to be a sound sleeper, but sleeping on the job while his closest friends were in danger did seem kind of callous. Like Jesus’ disciples, I just didn’t get it… until that moment.
Sitting on the edge of my bed, I’d been given a precious gift. Suddenly I understood. Jesus was in my boat, and he wasn’t going anywhere. He’d already weathered the storm. He’d even faced his own death, and he’d broken down the very gates of hell on his way back from the grave. Nothing could ever separate me and him. He who overcame the entire world was with me, and, with his power, I was able to get up.
Thank you for reading. If this blog post lifted your spirits, you might also like My Savior in Chains: Hope during Times of Uncertainty
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Thank you for reading, and God bless you all.