I used to be able to sleep through any storm. I’m not kidding. I have slept through thunderstorms, tornado warnings (I have yet to confirm if I have slept through a touch down) and even a hurricane in north Florida. But all of that changed on December 6th 2007. Why you may ask? That is the day we brought Jonas Ezekiel Anthony Arp home. All of a sudden I couldn’t sleep through a gentle mist (that may be a bit of hyperbole). But truly I have never enjoyed sleeping through storms the way I used to for almost nine years now. And last night in West Texas we had a boomer of a thunderstorm. Around 2 in the morning the lightning was flashing, the house was shaking from the thunder and I just knew our kids were about to come running for our bed at any moment. So attempting to beat them to the punch I quickly jumped out of bed and quietly went to their room where I found them both still sound asleep. Sound asleep? I’m the one who can’t sleep through storms now and here they are like little sleeping angels while the world is coming down around them.
Now this hasn’t always been the case. There have been many sleepless nights in the Arp household where we have tried any number of cheesy analogies in order to comfort little ones scared by thunder. The angels are bowling, God is moving furniture around in heaven, there are changes in electrical currents between storm fronts and the ground…maybe one of those is true. But now it seems our kids have come to have some sort of weird confidence in that they are going to be okay. Maybe because they know their parents know about the storm it might give them some sort of ease. The Psalmist had a number of ways to describe his confidence in God in this fashion. “He who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121) “The Lord sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord is enthroned as King forever. The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.” (Psalm 29) I wonder if that is the same confidence with which my little angels slept so soundly.
In the gospel of Mark though we have a different picture of God in the storm. Jesus, after a long day of teaching (on Faith of all things) crawls up to the front of the boat while the disciples are crossing over the sea of Galilee and falls asleep. Suddenly a storm comes upon the disciples and they lose their minds. They wake him up saying, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” – Mark 4:38. Jesus wakes up, calms the storm, and then asks them, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” – Mark 4:40. All along they have been walking, talking, eating, sleeping, traveling, and spending every waking hour with Jesus. He has shown them his power, compassion, love, grace, provision, etc. and yet all of a sudden when they fear their lives and/or livelihood are in danger they think he doesn’t care?!? I think for a moment they may have forgotten that the same God who never slumbers, the same God who is enthroned above the flood was the same God who slept for a moment in the midst of the storm. Jesus is with you in the storm. God sits enthroned above the flood and the storm. We can have peace in the midst of the good as well as the bad because of our faith. And maybe we might find ourselves like those little smiling Arps last night; resting peacefully while the world shakes so violently around them.