As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.
The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them,“Where is your faith?”
The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” (Luke 8:23-25)
Relate: I have five different alarms that go off every morning. No, seriously, I do. The first one is on my phone. It is the sound of water falling down a brook with harp music or some such nonsense playing in the background. It starts up very quietly and gradually picks up volume but never gets all that loud. Just when that alarm is timing out, my IPad will start beeping. That is loud and it is the traditional alarm beep that clocks have been using for as long as they have been running on electricity. It also doesn’t shut off. It just rings and rings and rings. Many mornings, like this morning, I will do my best to ignore it but it is just not possible. That is because six minutes after it has begun that Ipad seamlessly switches over to the third alarm. This one is dual pitched and slightly faster. It is also far more annoying. Usually, this alarm will finally drag me from my bed and with mutterings and mumblings no Christian should be using I head into the other room to shut it off and begin my day.
All that takes place between 5:05 and 5:15ish in the morning. My goal is to spend a certain amount of time in prayer, reading, and memorization before I do anything else. A couple times a week those first three alarms are not enough and about ten after seven my phone begins blasting out alarm number four. If you jump to 1:47 in the music below, you can hear what my phone begins blaring out as loud as it can every morning at 7:08AM. This is the point of no return. When this alarm goes off I must get out of bed. I will still have adequate time for shortened prayer, to get ready, get my two cups of coffee, and make it to school on time.
The problem is, sometimes (often) during that shortened prayer time, I still end up drifting back to sleep. So at 7:55AM the Imperial March makes an encore. Now, no matter where I am at and what I am doing, I need to grab my stuff, throw on my shoes, and head out the door.
I say all this to illustrate the point that I am not a morning person. I am also an incredibly heavy sleeper. Even though I understand that certain things must take priority at the beginning of any spiritually healthy day, it is just so hard. I have been doing my best to maintain this discipline for a good twenty plus years now and still it is just so hard.
React: When I read this text in Luke, I feel for Jesus. I have no pity for the disciples. Only Jesus. The way I read it, the poor guy is just exhausted. He asks the disciples to put out to sea and as soon as the oars hit the water He is going below to get some shut eye. A storm starts picking up. The rocking boat doesn’t wake Him. Water sloshing around the bottom of the boat doesn’t wake Him. The disciples ever louder panicked voices don’t wake Him. Finally one of the disciples works up the courage to give poor Jesus a good shaking. Even this only half pulls Him out of hibernation. He looks out over the water and mumbles, “Stop it already, I’m tired.” Then He turns to His disciples. Jesus is not happy. he snaps, “Seriously guys? Where’s your faith.” Jesus then turns back around and trudges back below deck to finish His nap. The disciples just stand there looking at each other. “Did that really just happen? Wow, who is this guy?”
Honestly, I don’t have any deep theological insights to share today. I don’t have any major profound truths like I do my level best to pull out of each days devotional reading. No. I just wanted to share a little bit of how I read this famous story. I might be wrong. I probably am wrong. But it is just how I see it. We often like to share how Jesus being fully human means He knows and can empathize with our deepest struggles. We often say this when talking about a major sickness or spiritual temptation, but to me it also means Jesus knows our small daily struggles that make up the stuff of life just as well. After all, being fully human means He wasn’t a morning person either. Cheerfulness and abundant energy before 10AM just is not human. He didn’t need to be bouncing with anticipation to be brimming with power. Even half asleep He could do the stuff of dreams. With eyes half shut He still performed a waking miracle. So He knows how me, just getting out of bed in the morning, is a waking miracle.
I am so thankful that You have come and walked in the flesh among us. I am so grateful You had stuffy noses, gas problems, stubbed toes, and splinters. You know and can empathize with the big struggles that can make or break a life but also with the little struggles that season each and every one of my days. You know how often I fail to do right in so many of these small battles but still You love me. I am thankful that those words, “Peace, be still” still ring with power in every area of my life today.