“The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.”
This is quite remarkable. Despite the chaos up above on the ship, and despite the storm which raged (putting the ship on the brink of splintering into the sea), Jonah went down below deck…
AND FELL ASLEEP?
If there was ever an example of resting in the sovereignty of God, this was it.
Almost 800 years later on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples would awaken the sleeping Jesus in a complete panic (due to being absolutely frightened by a storm which rocked the fishing boat that they were all in). Matthew records Jesus’ reaction to the disciples’ hysteria, as they woke Him up:
“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing! He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.”
When we (Christians) get hysterical, we put ourselves into a position worthy of rebuke from God. Just look at this illustration given by Jesus, at another time when “worry” was the topic at hand. He again accused the disciples of having little faith due to their worry:
“And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying.”
But, Jesus didn’t leave them in His rebuke. He then instead, encouraged them not to be afraid of anything, by assuring them of their chosen status… by their Father:
“For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.”
Brothers and sisters, we (Christians) must always be calm, reminding ourselves as to where we stand with God… because of who we now are in Christ. When we forget and worry, we become like the “nations of the world” who are not seeking His kingdom, and who don’t recognize His sovereignty.
When we do remember, we will then rest like Jonah… knowing that God is behind both the calm and the rough seas.
Godspeed, to the brethren!
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Whenever I think of this incident I always think about Jonah’s disobedience. It never occurred to me that although he was disobeying God he still had faith in him.
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