Light dawns on the last year of a decade. It’s my birthday, the day I turn 49. My friend smiles and asks, “How does it feel to not be planning a wedding?” I shrug my shoulders and grin, “I haven’t thought about it.”
I take steps on holy ground and her question returns, How DO I feel about it? How do I really feel about her wedding come and gone, or the middle one hundreds of miles away? How do I feel about an almost empty nest, a grandmother who doesn’t remember me or the fact that next year I’ll be 50?
I watch geese land softly on still water and reflect over a year’s time. Has it really only been a year? Because it feels more like a lifetime.
Some years fly by as if they are a moment, but not this year. No, this year creeps slowly as if it has no place to go. A cloud rolling, wind roaring, lightning flashing, thunder crashing kind of year. A year full of unexpected, catch me by surprise storms.
I can identify with the discples on the day they follow Jesus into the boat. I wonder if they are hoping for rest. They watch as Jesus settles down and drifts off to sleep. All seems quiet on the water as gentle lapping rocks the boat. No crowds around. No healing requests to hear. No religious leaders to escape. Just the disciples and the sleeping Jesus.
I can almost hear them heave a collective sigh of relief, but it won’t last long. For a storm is brewing in the distance, and before they can find a comfortable place to rest ripples of water turn into crashing waves, thunder booms, and winds roar.
All the while, the Savior sleeps.
Panic rises. The disciples scurry, trying to keep the boat afloat. Finally when all their efforts are failing and drowning looms in the near future they wake the sleeping Shepherd. “Lord, save us! Don’t you care? We’re going to drown!”
What happens next gives me reason to pause, even wrestle, because Jesus’ response seems harsh. “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” I am a bit discouraged. After all, aren’t we suppposed to take our fear to Jesus. Don’t we sing, “I must tell Jesus, all of my trials…?” Isn’t Jesus the one who we should turn to during the storm?
Why, oh why Lord, did you respond that way? Was it the jolting way they woke you up? Were you frustrated with yet another request? How were they supposed to relax in the midst of the storm, and more importantly… how should I?
Funny thing about this stormy year of mine not once did I question if Jesus was in my boat. But there were times I responded so much like the disciples. I scurried around in panic mode hoping to calm the storm. I bounced from bow to stern attempting to fix the broken caused by windy conditions. I chose to allow fear to rule and reign in me, and I made many attempts to keep my boat on course… my course.
Jesus didn’t rebuke the discples for waking him from his peaceful slumber. He was simply pointing out the obvious. They trusted their own resources and expertise and strength before waking Him. They allowed fear to focus their attention on drowning before rousing the very one who could keep them afloat.
I stand gazing at the tall white cross out there on its little island. And I get it. If I wait for a stormless year, then rest will never come. True rest comes when I let go of all the scurrying and fixing and fearing. Rest comes when I choose to sit right down beside the Savior and breathe deep trusting
He knows the storms are raging,
He knows where my tossed boat will end up,
and He alone has the power to calm every storm.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28, NIV