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Chaplain's Notes

Look Towards the Sleeping Face of Christ in Times of Trouble

Posted by danaduanecraft on August 3, 2015 at 8:00 PM


“… A Great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that boat was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on the cushion” (Mk. 4:38).

The Lord gives us our daily bread afresh each day (Mt. 6:11) while rarely, if ever, providing for tomorrow’s bread today (Ex 16:16-21). Our wonderful Lord seems to apply this same “methodology” when it comes to answering my personal prayers. Additionally, it seems that the more urgent the petition the more His provision seems to come at the latest hour possible. Yet, He always does provide even in spite of my disagreements or grumbling (Ex. 16:2) and His provision is over and above anything I could have brought about through my own strength or effort.

This faithfulness was recently revealed with a clarity, to the point of surprise, in the answering of a petition for pastoral guidance as I have sought to help another servant through a profound and life changing trial. His particular challenge forced me to dig deep into countless different texts, articles and commentaries as I searched for answers.

The answer came not through conquering endless reading lists in seminary or even as revealed in the dirt under my fingers from being in the trenches of full-time ministry in the third world but in the simple beauty of the face of my own son.

It’s easy to preach about truly trusting in the Lord’s meeting of our daily needs yet it’s quite another “Goliath” to face while standing (seemingly alone) in the Valley of Life.

This morning Jesus gave me my spiritual and pastoral bread in blessing my heart with an incredible answer to my urgent petition. This fellow servant has been fighting the good fight of faith while trying to summit a great mountain (1 Pet. 5:8) confusion and disorder. He’s been valiantly swimming against the overwhelming and flooding waters of the LGBT’s political, social and religious charges. This tsunami has inundated his small Mid-West Baptist church-going family at its very core in the life of his beautiful and extremely gifted daughter.

My dear brother has sought help, and at times refuge, from many a saint and even from some of the best of the secular world’s Freudian devotes. Yet the storm continues to amass more strength each day. The waves are now regularly breaking over the bow of his metaphorical boat. As a father myself I have empathized with his pain since first hearing the news. My knees carry the calluses from spending so much time upon them before the Lord petitioning Him for guidance. Finally, just this morning, He answered this simple servant (Heb. 4:16).

Each morning I lay down next to my two year-old son. Pausing and taking out this half-hour to begin each day has become one of the greatest blessings our Father has ever given me. Watching him sleep, this overly-curious, bright and exceedingly sweet reflection of the All Mighty (Ps. 8), brought to mind an image of what Christ’s disciples must have seen as they were caught in the midst of a great and super-natural storm (Mt. 8:25).

These brave men, most of whom had been professional fisherman, whose families gave birth along the Sea of Galilee’s shores and who lived, worked and anonymously died there for generations, were scared for their very lives. This water had always provided for them afresh each day and now its waters broke over the bow of their tiny boat to the point of swallowing it, and all of them, into the dark depths.

In this moment, while looking upon my little Noah asleep on his pillow and listening for the slightest whisper from the Lord (1 Kings 19:12), I could feel myself being inspired by the innocence, peacefulness and sweet handsomeness which gently rested upon his profile. I thanked our wonderful Lord for his life and confessed that, in his sleeping face, I have taken in the most beautiful image my blue eyes have ever seen. However, I’m certain, that when my time comes to actually gaze upon His face … the face of the Risen One, everything else will simply fade-away like a pleasant memory.

Laying there gazing upon my sleeping son’s face and with my prayers still hanging in the air I found my answered petition in how to help my dear brother navigate through this tempest of pain in simply imaging that stormy night atop the Sea of Galilee. Thirteen men confined to a tiny wooden fishing boat, twelve of them scared beyond words, and one asleep in the stern, only the one was the One and only begotten of the Lord. I could see the broad-chested Peter angrily peering out into in the ragging sea from the tip of the bow as he was desperately trying to read the waves. Once true fear had thoroughly gripped him, he turned towards the miracle worker asleep on a cushion. I’m sure that Peter, too, had never seen a more beautiful or peaceful image up to that point in his life.

Just like the faithful Apostle, when the storms of life threaten to overflow the gunnels of our life’s tiny boat we need to pause, while turning our squinting eyes away from facing into the storm, while looking behind us to the peaceful sleeping face of our Savior. His “slumber” is not as one who neglects but as one who is confident in our Father delivering us from the crushing onslaught of crashing waves (Jn. 16:33) and our confidence must be in His deliverance and provision.

His surety and confidence in our ultimate victory allows Him, not only to be our passenger, but to actually be asleep in the stern.

Once again, I’m sure that when Peter saw the beautiful face of our incarnate Lord, his heart skipped a beat or two and he knew all would be well. Just as Christ rebuked the wind and the waves (v. 15) and they instantly ceased their raging, the fear in Peter’s heart ceased to breathe just as when snuffs out a candle with their thumb and forefinger.

Now I knew the words to share with my tortured and exhausted brother in Christ. Jesus has not, nor will ever, abandon him and all he has to do is shift His focus from trying to read the waves and trim the sails, to land upon the resting face of our Lord. In that moment, the highest seas of life’s storms will be instantly stilled and the “Liberal Winds of Change” will be silenced.

 

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