This sea, this ocean, in all it’s vastness, all it’s fathomless depth and width and forever-stretching-farther, it can be so beautiful that it stretches your heart just to contain the wonder it evokes; like the night-sky it can appear to go on forever, beautiful, breath-taking.
“One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep…” Luke 8:22-23
And yet this sea, when it turns, it can be so terrifying that it shrinks you down to a quivering nothing, small, wet, and at mercy of the elements. It can be calm and tranquil, but also tempestuous and terrifying, especially when you are in one small boat in the middle of a raging swell.
“As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.” Luke 8:23
“A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.” Mark 4:37
“Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.” Matthew 8:24
But Jesus was sleeping…
Sometimes life can feel like a storm. And sometimes like a drowning. Like a flailing about without much to hang onto. Like a slow death by silence, soundlessly sinking in the waves of life.
And it can feel like Jesus is sleeping. Like hope isn’t in the boat with us. Like we’re entirely alone in a raging ocean of everything that undoes us.
How could He be sleeping? Doesn’t he care? Doesn’t He understand?
“Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”” Mark 4:38
“The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Matthew 8:24
They thought they were going to drown this night. These men in this one small boat. And they thought He didn’t care. Didn’t notice. Wasn’t in the boat with them. Not when it mattered anyway. These men in this one small boat in the middle of a raging swell, they thought there was nothing left to hold onto, nothing holding them. These men in their one small life.
Why was Jesus sleeping? Who can sleep in a thunderstorm? Who can be anything but thrown about by a raging of emotion? Who? Who is this that just doesn’t seem to feel it when the world is falling apart?
There’s a point when fear overwhelms us. When our system becomes overloaded and our senses dull to everything but the sound of our drumming heart.
Fear, you can drown in it; the fear of failure, the fear of death, the fear for survival, the fear we are not enough, the fear that we’ve failed. The fear underneath it all that we are nothing.
It can paralyse a soul this fear. It can literally take our breath away, this feeling out of control, out of our depth, out of the boat and under the waves. It can leave us breathless, gasping, drowning, in the depths of our frantic whir.