Sleeping Through the Storm on Highway 49
What if I could trust the Father like my children trusted me?
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WE PRESSED ON
To this day, it ranks as one of the very worst storms I’ve encountered. At the time, my family lived in Greenwood, Mississippi, about an hour north of my in-law’s home near Yazoo City. After visiting them for the day, we were driving back to Greenwood up Highway 49, a rural two-lane road that travels through the flat and fertile soil of the sparsely populated Mississippi Delta. My wife and I were up front with our three children were on the back row of the minivan.
Soon it began to rain. Not your ordinary rain, but the kind where wipers on high do little to clear the water off the windshield. Straight-line winds began blowing so hard, I thought we may get blown off the road. It was dark and there wasn’t a shoulder on the highway—only ditches on either side.
Although I could barely make out the yellow lines separating the two lanes, we pressed on in the darkness, with my hands clutching the steering wheel for dear life.
At one point, I remember looking in the rear-view mirror to check on my children, knowing they must be really scared. They were asleep.
How could they sleep through such a ferocious storm? You know why. They trusted their Daddy.
That is what little children do. They have an instinctive trust. Now I’ll admit, my kids probably should have kept one eye open that night. I may have been bigger then they were, but I am not all-sovereign, all-wise, and all-able.
But there is a Father who is.
What if I could trust him as my children trusted me. What if I could have that kind of peace through the storms of my life? Is that kind of peace possible?
We find the answer in Mark 4:35-41.
35 That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 37 A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 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?”
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
JESUS CARES FAR MORE THAN WE THINK
The disciples misinterpreted why Jesus was sleeping. They accused him of not caring whether they lived, assuming he didn’t care about them. Quite the opposite was true.
In John 13:1, one of the apostles who was in the boat tells us about the care of Jesus, saying, “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”
How would Jesus show the full extent of his love? That night he would provide a metaphor of sorts by washing their feet. But the full extend would be displayed the very next day, when Jesus would be stripped, beaten, and hung to suffer and die on a cross. That is where he shows the full extent of his agape love.
A MORE FURIOUS STORM
On that cross, Jesus faced a storm far more furious than the one in Mark 4 on the Sea of Galilee. It was a storm whose winds he could have silenced but didn’t. Instead, he allowed himself to be swamped and drowned in judgment, giving his life unto death to save all who look to him as their sin-bearer.
Does Jesus care? Even as the storm rages in the hospital or when you are lying awake at 3:00 a.m., being pelted with droplets of worry, anxiety, and stress? Does Jesus care in those moments? Absolutely. Jesus’ cares more deeply than we can imagine, even if the outward circumstances would tempt us to think otherwise.
So, what can we do when the wind picks up?
MAKING THE ASK
Simply ask Jesus to intervene. As Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:20, God “is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.” Just like Jesus was present with the disciples in the boat, he is with you now. And he is not asleep.
If you ask and the storm ceases, give him thanks and praise. But if it doesn’t, you can know there is a purpose. And that purpose empowers us to trust him through whatever shape the storm takes.
Even Jesus asked the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane if there were any way to avoid the storm he was about to face. But the Father had a purpose for the cross the Son would bear. Knowing there was purpose in the pain, Jesus entrusted himself to the Father’s plan.
Now, for those who look to Jesus as their sin-bearer, the winds that raged upon him are as calm upon you as they were on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus stilled the storm. The furious squall of judgment has been silenced. As Paul writes in Romans 5:1, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
In the place of condemnation, there is now peace—the kind of peace that allows us to sleep in the midst of the storm. Because our Abba, our Father, our good, wise, merciful, loving, and sovereign God is at the wheel.