My dad was not a real approachable person by any means, so we were never really close as some fathers and daughters are. I can say with pride though that he did teach us some very important basic truths: A man is only as good as his word; A handshake is as good as any written contract; and never borrow something you can’t pay back. Along with this, Daddy, as most dads do, gave us kids a sense of security whenever he was in the house…especially at night.
We never appreciated his presence much until one year, when I was about ten years old. Daddy went on an over-night trip with a friend of his to Oklahoma. We had never spent a night without him in the house before. Daddy, being a serious person most of the time, had no tolerance for non-sense, kids running in and out, or being disruptive. Bedtime was 9:30 and nobody stayed up later than that for any reason. Mama, on the other hand, was a lot more lenient in some areas, so we were sure we could talk her into letting us stay up late while Daddy was gone.
It was fun at first, laughing and being louder than usual, just because we could…until it started to get dark. It began to feel strange with bedtime coming and Daddy not being there. We all crowded around Mama on the couch and watched TV till the evening news came on. The house seemed strangely empty. We tried to get her to let us stay up, but I was a little relieved when she said “No. “You all have school tomorrow.”
Once in bed, we were aware of every noise outside and how the night seemed darker than usual. Mama assured us everything was fine, but we all agreed: We would be glad when Daddy came home.
This story came to mind as many times lately, when I open my Bible, I’ve turned to the story of Jesus and His disciples on a boat.
Luke 8: 22-25 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said to them, Let’s go over to the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. 23 But as they sailed he fell asleep, and there came down a storm of wind on the lake, and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy. 24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water; and they ceased and there was calm. 25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they, being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Any time The Lord directs me to verses like this over and over, I feel there’s a message there for me ( or for others) that I can share, but sometimes it takes me a while to understand exactly what that message is. I realize as I read it, that the disciples, though they have seen Jesus perform countless miracles and cast out devils, etc., they were never fully aware of who He is…until after the resurrection. Had they realized, seeing Him asleep might would have reassured them rather than make them feel He didn’t care that they might die…or they might have called on Him sooner, before the boat began to fill with water. Too often, we wait and try to handle bad situations ourselves before finally turning to the One whom we know can help. His act of commanding the wind and waves reinforced what He had tried to tell them before: “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father.”
Some might ask why Jesus was sleeping while He surely knew the storm was coming. Even God at times has to rest from His great work. As humans, we can imagine how being followed by crowds of people expecting miracles and constantly being confronted by nonbelievers must have taken its toll.
Before Jesus entered the ship that day, a certain scribe came and said to him, “Master I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” Matthew 8: 19-20
Also as humans, there are times, when being faced with a problem, we might feel our prayers are not being heard…or that God is sleeping while we are facing a battle too big for us to handle…but a lack of immediate action on His part never means He is not aware of what we’re going through. He already knows the outcome, and is always working to see that all things work out for our good. Once we realize this and trust Him, we too can put our worries to rest in His hands…and sleep peacefully through the storm. What a feeling of security we get just knowing we can rest easy when we know: Jesus is in the house!