Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Resting Through the Storm

I don't know how long I had been clenching my fist, it had been quite a while.  My shoulder was tense and I had nail prints in my hands.  By the feel of my jaw, I had also been clenching my teeth. For how long? Minutes? Hours? I'm not sure.  I was sound asleep. I awoke from the dream with a raw ache and then began to unravel why I was tense. The wind. The wind was howling. Buffeting the house. Rattling the exhaust fan. Pelting the window with rain. I was tense because of the storm. Yet I had been sleeping, and felt remarkably rested. I was able to sleep through the storm because I was in the security of the house. My body may have physically reacted to the sound of danger, but my mind had allowed rest.

I thought of another storm a couple thousand years ago.  A storm encountered not in the safety of a brick house but in the precariousness of a wooden boat. Someone else slept through that storm, whilst his friends battled the waves. Although the boat's worthiness looked dubious, he knew he was in the safety of his creation.

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

It is in these moments of reflecting that I often wonder of that mysterious balance of humanness and deity in Jesus. Did his physical body tense in spite of the power it contained? When he was awakened, did he have to unclench involuntary muscles in order to stand and rebuke the wind? It has no ultimate theological impact, but it makes me think. He was like me, but he was God. How does that work? And, even not knowing how it works, how comforting is it to know that he understands our weakness because he too was human!

We all encounter storms--physical, emotional, psychological. Storms of doubts and of ridicule. Storms of illness or financial pressure. Storms of mistrust, broken relationships and misunderstandings. Storms come. We can fight against them, like my body tensing against the wind during my sleep, or we can lean into God and face them. The former leaves us only battered. The latter may still result in the soreness of the battle. But it also comes with a peace in the security of God's plan. It comes with rest. We cannot escape all of the force of life's storms, but we can continue to rest in our hope of God. I'll take the rest with hope!

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.
Psalm 57:1

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