Week 2 – February 25, 2018

I can only imagine the level of fear Jonah experienced when he disobeyed the Lord’s command to go confront a city of people.  I’m sure Jonah knew of the Lord’s power, the things He had done to the armies that defied Him.  Jonah had to know that God could strike him dead at any moment.  Personally, I’ve never experienced a fear that was so constant and looming.  I’ve had flashes of fear; the kind of fear that causes your whole body to jump in temperature twenty degrees.  The kind of fear that you have when your child falls and your reaction to catch them is too slow; the kind of fear when you accidentally take a misstep and almost fall off a set of stairs. Imagine a fear that God would strike into us after hearing a command and deliberately disobeying it.  Jonah was so afraid that when he was on the ship, trying to escape to Tarshish, he buried himself down inside and went into a deep sleep.  A sleep so deep, when the ship was being tossed around in the sea that he just kept on sleeping.

Now let’s look at a different type of sleep, a type of sleep that is relaxing and peaceful. Have you ever experienced that type of incredible sleep? I’ve experienced that type of sleep when I’ve had a good day’s work and feel accomplished and on purpose.  It could be physical labor and accomplishment, but it can also be other types of labor that have resulted in the rewarding feeling of being on purpose. This is the kind of sleep I believe Jesus experienced in Luke 8:22-25.  Jesus was on a boat, similar to the one Jonah was on, but Jesus fell asleep calmly, probably tired, but also probably filled with a sense of satisfaction of being on purpose.  Jesus was doing the will of God.  He had put in the hours, he put in the work, he didn’t run from God’s will, and he was fulfilling it.

Just like Jonah, Jesus didn’t wake up when the boat started to be tossed around by a storm. But, unlike Jonah, Jesus’s sleep was peaceful, it wasn’t from fear induced exhaustion.  Jesus knew he was living a life pleasing to God and was fulfilling his purpose in God’s plan.  When you know that, there is a “peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)

What can we learn from these two stories of sleeping through storms?  For me, I’ve learned that obedience and living life on purpose is when I feel at peace. When I feel the gift from God of not worrying about the small things and not fearing things out of my control, I feel and experience Matthew 6:25-27: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

In light of all that I know and believe and read in God’s word, why do I worry and have fear?  The big question for us this week is, “Am I making wise choices with my focus on God? If not, how can I change that?”

Scripture For the Week to Pray, Meditate, and Focus your heart on:

Jonah 1:6-17
Luke 8:22-25
Matthew 6:25-27

– Brad Baggett