That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:35-41)
When I wrote about Jesus sleeping through a storm in the fifth, Sink or Swim chapter of my little book, Our Glory Is His, I was writing out of my imagination because I had not been to Israel when I wrote the words contained in that book. This past year that all changed. My wife and I had the opportunity to tag along with a group of incredible new friends from Emmanuel Community Church for a tour of Israel. I can’t put in words how profoundly emotional our experience was riding in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. It is one thing to write about things based on research and the experience of others, it is another thing to write about something based on personal experience.
If you ever get the chance to visit Israel, listen to your heart and not to the nightly news. Our group felt very safe at all times during our visit of the Holy Land.
Of all the places we visited, the Sea of Galilee, and the towns and area around this fresh water lake, was my personal favorite. The water level was down when we visited the Sea of Galilee last year which made the group very sad. However,the good news is that Israeli desalination technology is so advanced now, that Israel has approved a 270 million dollar plan to pump and desalinate water, mostly from the Mediterranean Sea, to refill the Sea of Galilee. According to this article in the Economist, fresh water should start flowing into the Sea of Galilee in 2020.
Why would you go to the trouble and expense of refilling the Sea of Galilee unless this seven miles wide by thirteen miles long freshwater lake is, well, special? I get it now why Jesus often retreated to this area to rest, pray and think. I would too if I lived in Israel! Not only is this lake Biblically significant, it is gorgeous and worthy of preservation for the Nation of Israel.
So back to Jesus and the storm as recorded in Mark 4:35-41. In Our Glory is His, I asked the question;
“Why does Jesus still seem to “sleep” sometimes in the storms of our lives?”
Yes, Jesus slept through a storm on the Sea of Galilee. But you must understand that He was not unaware of the needs and fears of his closest earthly friends while he was sleeping on that boat. Jesus fell asleep because He was exhausted. It’s exhausting when you give and give and give and it is never enough. I bet any pastors who happen to read this blog can totally relate to being so physically and emotionally drained that they could sleep in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. It must be exhausting to be a pastor or church leader who is actively living into their high calling.
Dear friends, we need to pray for our pastors and church leaders who are caring for us selflessly. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know several pastors and priests over the years on a more personal level. I think that they would support my statement that they are just regular people just like you and me. They sin. They cry. They get disappointed. They get angry and eat, drink and say too much sometimes too. The difference though, is that people tend to put our dear brothers and sisters up on a pedestal and expect them to be perfect. Please don’t do that to them my friends. They just want to be loved, included, and forgiven like everyone else in our churches.
Dear Lord, we lift up our pastors who seek your face and will every day on our behalf. Please show us how we can encourage our pastors with the same level of encouragement that we receive from them. Protect our pastors from evil and fill them with your sweet Holy Spirit so that they can continue to speak the and teach the Word of truth boldly and fearlessly. Help us to keep them accountable in an honorable way just like they hold us accountable.
Please protect our brothers and sisters who are currently experiencing the storms of life. Wake up and command the storms to cease once your purposes are achieved. Please bless Israel and open the door for more of my brothers and sisters to have the opportunity to see, hear, touch, smell and feel the world that you ministered to while you were here on earth in the flesh the first time. We are looking forward to your return to bring all things revealed in your Holy Word to fulfillment. To you be the glory Lord, now and forevermore, Amen.