The groans of creation that started in the garden with Adam and Eve seem to grow louder with every passing year. We are assaulted daily with a barrage of news stories, social media posts and personal experiences of the brokenness around us. Violence, disease and natural disasters wreak havoc on the world. In the onslaught of fear, tragedy, loss and anxiety, it often feels like the Lord has forgotten us or that maybe He just doesn’t care.
If you have ever felt this way, you are in good company. The psalmist cried out, “Awake! Why are You sleeping, O Lord? Rouse Yourself! Do not reject us forever!” (Psalm 44:23). God’s silence in the midst of our suffering strikes a heavy blow to our weary hearts. We too cry out, desperate for His attention and intervention in our circumstance. As the storms of life rage and the waves come crashing in around us, deliverance often seems unattainable.
The disciples experienced this same feeling of dread as an actual storm came upon them and real waves poured into their boat. Panic and fear for their lives consumed them as the Savior slept in the stern. The situation appeared hopeless. As they called on Jesus, their words betrayed their terror and sense of abandonment. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).
They call Him “Teacher” here, which is an accurate description, but it is incomplete. Jesus was no ordinary rabbi. He was—and still is—Savior, Messiah, Lord, Counselor, Comforter, Prince of Peace, Victorious Warrior, King of Kings and so much more. Though His body slept, Christ’s authority and ability never diminished. He is one with the Father who never slumbers nor sleeps, but stands always ready to aid His people (Psalm 121:3-4). Christ arose and calmed the storm with a word. His comment to the disciples afterward reveals that much of their fear stemmed from forgetting who was in the boat with them.
Helen Howarth Lemmel published a hymn in England in 1918. She was surrounded by the travesties of World War I, the Spanish Flu, police strikes and political unrest at the time.
The song she wrote? “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” She understood that in times of suffering, we must turn our gaze from our sorrow to our Savior. Jesus promised that we would experience trouble in this world, but He also assured us of His ultimate victory (John 16:33). We can rest in that assurance. Isaiah 26:3 confirms this, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
In those moments of anguish, when the world is crashing in around you and it seems your Savior is asleep in the stern, turn your eyes upon Jesus. Remember His awesome power and authority. Consider His compassion and mercy. Ponder the unsearchable depths of His wisdom.
“And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”