When my children were below the age of 6, Sunday afternoon naps were definitely a scheduled activity in our house. After a Sunday morning of teaching, preaching, and building relationships with church members, we looked forward to a time of rest after lunch. The nap event was often scheduled and even circled on the calendar. Even though those days have passed, I still realize the importance of rest. Every once in a while, we may get a small nap on a Sunday afternoon, but as the children have gotten older, the naps rarely occur. I miss those naps.
Life is exhausting at times and we all struggle to rest adequately. Rest is more than sleep; it is finding peace and calmness in the midst of the storms of life and even the storm sometimes we can be. I have always found it interesting that the National Weather Service uses names to label hurricanes and even snow storms. During our lives we can be a storm with the schedules and appointments as well as work overload. If we add in the stress and emotions we experience and the relationship strains and struggles, we could be a category 4 or 5 hurricane! Maybe the schedule and workload aren’t that rough right now but the storm could just be unrest and uneasiness from the unknown and daily changes life is throwing at us.
In the book, Rest in the Stormby Kirk Byron Jones, the author states on page 75-76 “Imagine yourself as the storm Jesus addressed that night. See and feel the strong gust of busyness and haste that are inside of you—that have become you. For a moment, envision the countless tasks you have scheduled today as a great wave of overload. Do you see yourself? Can you feel the tornado churning inside of you? Can you hear the sound of the crashing waves of demand and expectation that others place on you, and that you place on yourself? As your fierce rampage continues, imagine yourself hearing a voice from within your own rage. It is a voice that breaks into your pandemonium, daring to demand that you observe ‘Peace’—that you ‘Be still!’ Can you?” Can we be still and experience the peace of God that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7)?
In Mark 4:35-41, Jesus is taking a nap on a boat. During the journey in the boat a storm develops. The disciples wake Jesus and He calms the storm. There are definitely other themes and application principles within this scripture; however, we are going to focus upon Jesus resting in the midst of the storm. We need to learn to rest in and during the storms of life we experience. We may be thinking…how do we accomplish that? Well, Jesus provides the example: going to the back of the boat.
Kirk Byron Jones continues, in the Rest in the Storm book, talking about ‘back of the boat time’. Back of the boat time is planned rest…resting mentally, emotionally, and physically. In this time, we can understand and learn how to let God’s peace live and move within our hearts and minds so that during the storms in our lives we are prepared to be still. Back of the boat time varies for all us. It could be reflection, taking a solo walk outside, disconnecting from technology and social media. Simply listening and seeking God with an attitude of prayer are important components of back of the boat time. We need to make an intentional effort to find rest in God and have faith that God will calm the storm. The disciples struggled to have faith (Jesus asked them, “Do you still have no faith?”) that God will guide them through the storm. May we trust God to guide us and have faith that God will calm the daily storms we face.
“He says, ‘Be still and know that I am God’”—Psalm 46:10a