God spoke to me last night as I read one of our nightly devotions to Joe. Ironically, my relationship with God has grown throughout the last several years and it is because of my son. So many interactions that I have with him and a majority of them bring me back to Jesus.
I used to think that God was a merciless God. Standing there with His gavel ready to send me to hell at the slightest slip. I struggled to forgive myself because I couldn't see Him forgiving me.
I also read and dig in to Scriptures with so much more understanding. We live in a culture of people who shout "Are you woke yet?" about what is going on in our world, but let me tell you that the one thing that I have woke up about is that Jesus loves me. He loves me so, so much and there is so much grace! And that the things that we worry about as people and as a culture are not the things that Jesus worries about. And that was what God spoke to me about last night.
The story can be found in several different books of the Bible, but they all tell the same story. Jesus was tired. He told His disciples that He wanted to take the boat to the other side of the lake. AKA I need a quiet nap. He was constantly surrounded by people and He just needed a break. I feel like every parent can say we "feel" Jesus on this one. So, off they went, on the boat. The Bible tells us that Jesus went to the back of the boat, laid down and fell asleep.
While they were about half way across a storm hit them. The Bible tells us that the waves were so rough it came over the sides of the boat and one of the books tells us that the boat was becoming filled with water. Can you imagine the chaos? Waves splashing, wind blowing, maybe some lightening, a boat full of men yelling at each other trying to get the water out and keep control of the boat. It isn't real clear whether it was raining in this storm. But it is clear that they thought they could die. They were scared.
But in all of this, Jesus slept. He slept so hard that the disciples came to Him and said, "Hey, don't you see what is happening around you? Can't you feel the rain? Hear the wind? You don't feel the water coming in over the sides? Can't you hear us screaming? Come on! We are going to die! Don't you care?"
Jesus gets up and simply tells the the storm to "be quiet". Do you know what happens? The Bible tells us the wind obeyed Him. It stopped blowing. The waves stopped tossing. Everything around them calmed. Jesus goes on to talk to rebuke them about their little faith. The disciples, yes the men who had been walking with Jesus, heard Him speak and watched Him heal people were in awe. They said, "Who is this man that even the wind obeys Him?". Forehead slap.
I feel like I cannot be the only one, but the last year and a half has been riddled with fear, uncertainty, death and political and racial unrest/division. A couple of weeks ago, the community where my church is located was devastated by a man that has a lot of hate in his heart. He hurt sixty plus men, women and children and killed five adults and one child in a matter of just a few minutes. He turned a night of joy and celebration into a nightmare. Unexpectedly, in the same week, one of our dogs got very sick and had to be put down. The covid numbers are rising again. I personally have had something I have been dealing with and praying about. It is all just so overwhelming... it's scary.
My mind is at war with my spirit. Being alive in this period of time is difficult. Being a parent is even harder. I don't have to just make decisions for myself. I have to make decisions that impact my little person. Being a friend is tricky and keeping peace in your family is next to impossible. Then throw in there everyone that has an opinion sharing their opinion and making you feel like you are junk no matter what you decide. Might I add that a large number of these people are "Christians". Now, I am not just scared... I feel hopeless. Then I spiral. Nothing is safe. Nowhere is safe. Noone is safe.
Last night while I read the Bible story of Jesus sleeping in the boat, God spoke to me. I felt Him nudging me and asking me why I am worrying? Why am I scared? Why am I madly trying to shovel the water from the boat back into the lake? Why am I sitting at His feet every morning asking Him what I should do?
I am the disciple in the boat. Madly trying to save myself and everyone else in the boat. Then I take a few minutes in the morning to stop and ask God "Hey! Wake up! We need you! Can't you see the madness of the world? Don't You see the fear? The hate? The divisiveness?
I'm floundering around again, acting like I'm actually in the sea instead of safe inside the boat. You'd think I am drowning with all the doubt, angst and frustration I have built up inside of me. I feel the wind blowing at me. The waves are so very high, and it once again feels like God is sleeping on me. Meanwhile, I forget that He has empowered me with the very tools that He uses Himself to quiet the storm. All I have to do is speak.
Speak to my doubt. "Be quiet".
Speak to my fear. "Be quiet".
Speak to the weight holding me down. "Be quiet".
Speak to my anxiety. "Be quiet".
Speak to my troubles. "Be quiet".
I just have to speak. Just open my mouth and say, "Be quiet".
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