Have you ever felt the Lord was asleep. That He didn’t care, that He was oblivious to your situation? I’m sure if we are all honest, there are times when we have all felt this way. Times when we are walking through the wilderness, times of grief, times when we pray and pray and find no answer. At such times, it feels as if the Lord must be sleeping, that He must not care.
Whenever I feel this way, I am reminded how the disciples too felt this way one time. In Mark 4:35-41 it says,
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!”
Here in this passage we find the disciples in a boat with Jesus. They have been walking with Him and have seen Him do great miracles. As they are on their way to the other side a horrible storm overtakes them. Imagine with me being out in a fishing type boat, when a furious storm comes upon you. I’m talking hurricane winds, down pouring rain and waves that threaten to overturn your boat. Can you picture it? So, the disciples are busy probably dumping out the water that continues to pour into their boat. They are most likely readjusting the sails on the boat and doing everything in their power to get to dry land. When all of a sudden they look to the back of the boat and there they find Jesus sound asleep! Now I don’t know about you, but if I were one of the disciples I think I would have been a bit upset. Here they are working furiously to keep from being dumped into the lake and Jesus is fast asleep. So what do they do, they do what any of us would have done, they wake him up. Not only do they wake him up they ask him how can you be asleep, don’t you care that we are about to die?? At this, Jesus gets up, turns and speaks to the wind and the waves, telling them to be quiet and to be still. And guess what, they listen and immediately the wind is calm and the sea is like glass. Then he turns to the disciples and ask them why they are afraid and questions their faith. The disciples were at a loss for words and they wondered who is this Jesus?
There are numerous truths we can find from this passage that can help us when it seems the Lord is asleep. Number one, we must never forget that we are not alone, Jesus is with us. If you look back at the first of the passage you will see that they weren’t alone in the boat, Jesus was with them. No matter what storm you are going through, remember you are not alone, He is there. For He has promised, “I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).” Next, we must not forget who we serve. Here we see that the disciples truly didn’t understand who Jesus was. They had seen him do miracles, they had seen him heal and help others, but this time it was personal. And though they had seen him do great things, they did not recognize that He was God. They did not believe that He could save them, they definitely did not know He could speak to the winds and the waves and that they would obey. What I have found is that when I feel like God doesn’t care, when I’m afraid because of the storm I’m in, most generally it is because I have forgotten whom I serve. I have limited His power. I think my situation must be too much for Him and neglect the fact that nothing is impossible for Him. We must not forget who we serve. He is Lord God Almighty and nothing is too difficult for Him, nor impossible. Your problem, your situation doesn’t take him by surprise and it’s not too much for Him to handle. Third, we must not give into believing lies. Not only had the disciples failed to believe who Jesus was, they also were believing lies. For when they woke Jesus up, the first thing they said was, “Don’t you care?” I have found this is a slippery slope that is entirely easy to slide into. When I have been praying and seeking the Lord’s help and yet the storm still rages on, it is so easy to base my thoughts on how I feel. My head may know the truth, but my heart says, it sure feels like He doesn’t care. It sure feels like He has forsaken us. It sure feels like we are alone. If I’m not careful and I begin to think what I feel, before long the enemy has won and the lies consume me. Whatever you are going through, God know and He does care. You aren’t alone, He has not forsaken you. For the Scripture tells us that we are to, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (I Peter 5:7).” Finally, we must keep the faith. After calming the winds and the waves Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith. This too describes me when I believe the Lord is sleeping and doesn’t care. The reason I feel this way is because my faith is gone and in place of faith doubt has set in. This is that slippery slope I was referring too, believing lies starts small, but before long if we dwell on these untruths we will like the disciples find our faith replaced with doubt.
So, what do we do when it seems the Lord is sleeping? What do we do when we have been praying and praying and it seems the Lord doesn’t care or that our situation is too much? I have discovered when I feel this way, when I am given to despair, I must pray all the more. I must be in the Word more and more. I must repeat again and again the truths of God’s Word until it overcomes the lies and doubt. I read yesterday in Psalm 27 and this is what David says. “I would have despaired unless I had believed….(Ps. 27:13).” You will be given to despair, you will fall into doubt and believe lies if you do not believe God for who He is and what the Scriptures say. So I encourage you and myself, when these thoughts arise, when feelings seem to be doing battle with truth, get in the Word, read it aloud, pray it again and again until the doubt are gone. The Lord never promised following Him would be easy, in fact He told us to expect hard times. So, when the storms rage and your feelings are prone to stray from the truth, remember you are not alone, your situation is not too difficult for the Lord, cast out the lies and stand on the truth and keep believing whatever it takes. You will make it to the other side just as the disciples did. Press on He does care and our God neither slumbers or sleeps!