Where do you find peace? How far do you have to drive to find the stillness of that perfect lake where all of your troubles will just melt away? Americans feel stressed. And more often than not Americans have found the same solution to their stress: to run away. To get as far away as possible.
Well, do you find yourself in the same boat? Do you find yourself stressed? Worried about keeping everyone happy? Trying to find out how can I be in two places at the same time. Do you find yourself lying awake in bed at night unable to sleep because as you run the numbers over and over they just don’t add up?
I often find when I’m stressed that I tend to be much like the disciples. At the end of Mark Chapter 4, the disciples find themselves in a boat with Jesus in the middle of a stormy sea. They ride the storm as long as they can but at a certain point when the waves get too big in their boat starts to swamp they turn to Jesus, they wake him up in the stern of the boat, and they say “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to drown?”
What did Jesus do? He stood up. He rebuked the wind and the waves. He said “Peace be still.” And there was instant calm. But notice, what did Jesus do next? He turned to his disciples and he rebuked them for their lack of faith.
Why did Jesus do that? Well we find that if we look back at that storm in the height of the storm when the wind and the waves were at their worst the disciples already had their peace and stillness and he was sleeping in the back of the boat. There with Jesus sleeping during the storm. It’s one of the craziest pictures we have in the Bible.
But that’s not a picture of a God who is oblivious to our troubles and problems. In fact Jesus sleeping in the stern of the boat is a picture of our God who is trusting perfectly for us.
You see as people who worry we sin by worrying. Our failure to trust in God absolutely condemns us. We need a Savior who trusts perfectly in our place and what we find is that as we see the storms in life, the moments of greatest chaos and confusion, the moments where we’re tempted to think that God isn’t in control and tempted to run to God and say “don’t you care if we’re drowning?” Those are the moments that we are in the very center of God’s plan.
You see God doesn’t work the way we often would like him to. We see God working the same way with his Son Jesus. The same Lord of creation would have his hands nailed to the tree for us. And when his lifeless body was taken from the tree and laid in the tomb in peaceful sleep that wasn’t God oblivious to the troubles of the world, but that was God’s plan of saving our sinful world. Of saving us. Forgiving our sins.
So how do we handle stress? How do we handle feeling out of control or those long nights lying awake. Faith isn’t about running away from our problems. Faith isn’t even about going to Jesus and saying “Lord, calm the storm.” Faith is simply riding the boat with Jesus.
We look at that picture of our Savior sleeping in the stern of the boat. And there we say “Lord, you are my peace, you are my stillness, help me trust in you.”