Two men sleep in the belly of their respective boats. They both are sleeping soundly, as if the hard wood planks under their bodies are a Sleep Number Bed (never actually laid in one by the way, but according to all the radio ads, they’re comfortable). It’s as if the continual rocking of their boats has lulled them to sleep—except the boats aren’t just rocking. They’re pitching wildly on the waves, and sheets of rain pummel the deck. These two men are sleeping in the middle of an intense storm.
It would be an almost absurd picture if it weren’t true. What could possibly allow these men to be sleeping in the middle of such a gale? They must be bone-weary! And indeed, if you were to study their faces, you could see the wrinkle lines of concern that have been worn into the corners of their eyes. There is a sense of sorrow in the curve of their pursed together lips. It looks like they haven’t slept in a long, long time, and that the reason they are sleeping now is because it would be physically impossible for their bodies not to be.
But yet, as you study their faces closer, you realize there is fear frozen in the features of the first man. It’s not fear at the storm, because the sleeper as far as you can tell is completely unconscious to the peril of wind and weather. He’s been running from something or someone, running and running. His flight has been what has made Him weary.
In the face of the second man, however, there is peace frozen in his features, not fear. He has been running a lot too, you think—not from anyone or anything, though, but to them. He’s emptied Himself in some grand service, and he’s fully content. You almost envy such serenity. How can a man be so weary and yet so fulfilled by his life that he could sleep so peacefully in the storm?
The first man is Jonah, and he is selfishly fleeing God.
The second man is Jesus, and he is willfully surrendered to God.
Yes, they’re both sleeping in the storm, but for vastly different reasons. As I thought about the differences between their two stories, it brought to mind the question, how will we sleep through our storms? Now, I doubt many of us will live through a storm on the high seas, but we all go through storms just the same in our lives. Health issues, the loss of a loved one, broken friendships. We all go through lots of hurt; we all are tossed in tumultuous seas of conflict and pain.
Will we run from God, even in the storm? Will we refuse to wake up and surrender our lives back to him? To flee from God, Jonah went down. He went down to Jopa to find a boat. He went down into the belly of the ship. He was cast down into the sea. He was swallowed down the belly of the big fish, and he was carried down into the depths of the sea. Without God, his storm consumed him.
Not so for Jesus. At all times, he fulfilled God’s will. There was not once where he said “not your will, but mine be done, God”. So, that night when he was going through his own storm, Jesus was wearied in a good way—not from fleeing God, but from serving God! He could sleep through his storm, content, because God was using him. In fact, he conquered his storm.
Which scenario sounds better to you? Wouldn’t we rather conquer our storms then be consumed by them? Let’s always let God’s will be done in our lives. When we abide in Him, we can be absolutely secure in any storm. It reminds me of Paul when he went through his own storm in Acts 27. He faced it with unshakeable courage and wisdom, because he was fully trusting in God. We may be wearied from our service to the Lord at times if we truly commit our all to him, but that will just make sleeping through the storm that much easier.