Daily Devotional

Sleeping in the Storm

“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.”  Matthew 8:24

The average adult between 18 and 64 needs between 7-9 hours of sleep, but recent studies show that 35% of Americans are sleep-deprived, and 50% struggle with feeling sleepy throughout the day. If you have trouble getting enough sleep, you know how draining this can be.

In Matthew chapter 8, Jesus finds himself exhausted from a busy day of ministry.  After delivering his sermon on the mount, “great crowds followed him” and he healed a large number of people, including a leper, a centurion’s servant, and Peter’s mother-in-law.
Afterward, Jesus instructed his disciples to get into a boat and head for the region of the Gadarenes (v. 28), while he took the opportunity to sleep, even as a storm began building on the lake.  The squall was so furious that waves crashed onto the deck and threatened to sink the boat.  (Picture the disciples frantically bailing out water with anything they could get their hands on.)  But what was Jesus doing?  He was sleeping in the storm, without a care or worry in the world.

I often think of this story as a picture of the Christian life.  We all go through storms in life.  Following Jesus certainly doesn’t exempt us from suffering.  In fact, following Jesus may lead us directly into a storm, as it did in the case with the disciples.  They were panicked and afraid, perhaps even angry with Jesus for sleeping through their crisis.  I know I’ve felt that way at times when it seemed like God was sleeping through my storm.  But Jesus was able to rest because he was in the will of God, and we have nothing to be afraid of when we follow God’s will.  It was actually safer to be in the storm with Jesus than free of the storm without him.  So that’s the first lesson to meditate on today.  No matter what you’re going through, stay in the boat with Jesus.  Don’t try to bail the boat out by yourself and solve your own problem.  Stay close to Jesus, because the waves don’t scare him, the wind doesn’t bother him.  He can rebuke the sea at any time and calm your storm.  So rest in him.  You can always find rest with Jesus in the eye of the storm.

The last bit of encouragement is this: when you’re following Jesus, every storm has a purpose.  Verse 27 tells us that the disciples “marveled” at Jesus, saying: “What short of man is this, that even the winds and sea obey him?”  So the storm actually taught them about Jesus.  It opened their eyes to his divine power, deepened their insight, and multiplied their faith.  They experienced Christ’s power and protection in a profoundly personal way that they could never forget.

If you’re going through a storm right now, here are a few questions to ask yourself:
  • What is God teaching me about the purpose of this storm?
  • How am I being tempted to solve my own problems rather than rely on Christ?
  • How can I replace my fear with faith?
  • How can I learn to rest in Jesus?
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
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