A while ago I posted about the storms we experience in this life. As we experience a new Covid variant on the rise and with school right around the corner, some of us are finding ourselves back in a storm.
As some of you know, I'm working through a chronological daily Bible. I was reading about Jonah (you know, the Jonah and the whale story).
The short version is that God called Jonah to witness to a terrible group of people (the Ninevites). Jonah didn't want to do that so he ran from God by joining a ship traveling to Tarshish. God sent a mighty storm. That's where we pick up.
"Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep." (Jonah 1:5 NAS)
As I was reading, I remembered when Jesus, too, was sleeping during a storm (Mark 4:38-40). I immediately knew there was a lesson to learn from this parallel. I spent several weeks in prayer, asking God to reveal to me what I'm supposed to share about both men sleeping during a storm. Last week, I was thrilled to know in my Spirit what God wants me to share.
Jesus slept because He knew He was in His Father's will. And He knew all about the storm and that it would mean no harm. He also knew His miraculous power would be revealed regarding the storm when the time was right. Jesus knew everything was under control. He was exhausted from His work helping the people and He needed a rest.
I love this picture of the humanity of Christ.
Jonah slept to escape. I've done that, too. When my depression threatens to overcome me, I sleep. I literally pull the cover over my head and escape. Even a good book won't cut it in those times! Jonah believed that he could successfully run from God (silly man). He thought he was in control. Yet the storm raged. That happens to me, too. I sleep in my depression or stress, yet the storm is still there when I wake up.
The crew of the ship Jonah was on woke him up, shocked that he was sleeping. He knew immediately that his sleep was for naught. He also took responsibility. He admitted that he was the cause of the tumult. The solution was for them to throw him overboard.
I always wonder what he thought would happen then. I mean, really. Did he think he would drown? Probably, as he was likely too far from shore to swim. I'm positive he didn't expect God to send a big fish (sometimes translated as a whale) to swallow him!!
The Bible says he spent three days in the belly of the fish (Jonah 1:17, NAS). I wonder about that, too. It had to stink. And it must have been very dark. Did he sleep there? Did he get sick from all the movement? How long did it take him to humble himself? Did he rant and rave a bit first? I probably would have...then I would have cried...then I would finally come to the end of myself and find my way to #obedience.
As Jonah did. He finally understood what God was asking of him. Here's part of his prayer, and God's response:
7“While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple.
8“Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,
9But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.”
10Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land."
Jonah finally admitted that #GodIsInControl and God put him right where he needed to be. He was close enough to walk to Ninevah to fulfill the task God gave him.
Now that we're all on the same page about what happened to Jonah, let's look at the parallels between Jonah and Jesus sleeping in boats.
They both slept during a storm.
They both were awoken because of the storm.
They both solved the problem of the storm.
But there were differences.
Jesus slept because He knew He was being obedient; Jonah slept to escape obedience.
Jesus was in complete control of the situation; Jonah thought he was in control, but God quickly corrected that notion.
What's our take-home? I think there are a few lessons to learn from both men sleeping during a storm.
God will let us sleep through a tough time.
If we do sleep through the storm, it will still be there when we wake up.
We don't control God - and we can't hide from him - even under our covers or on a ship far away.
God is the only way to calm the storm. Sometimes He will rebuke it for us, but other times we need to own our part, take responsibility where needed, and trust Him with the outcome.
If you're in a storm now, sleep if you must. But first, call out to Jesus for help. He's really the only one who can truly help.