Most of my despair and frustration came from the fact that I didn’t know if I had really heard from God, so I was almost always wrestling with despair.
In situations like these, I think about the story in Matthew 8 where Jesus and the disciples are in a boat when a huge squall comes up. The disciples start to freak out, but Jesus remains asleep.
Keep in mind, several of these guys are professional fishermen. They have seen storms before. If they think they’re going to die from this storm, chances are good that they knew what they were talking about.
So in this panic, they wake Jesus up. He calms the storm, then he says something that was troubling to me: “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 8:26)
We’re seriously supposed to find ourselves in the midst of deadly storms, look over to see you asleep and say ‘No worries!’?
But I found something interesting in what I was reading today.
In Acts 12, Peter has been arrested. He’s kept in jail for several days, guarded by 16 guards. The church is praying for Peter, but the day of his execution has arrived.
To be extra sure that Peter isn’t going anywhere, he has been chained directly to TWO guards!
And what is Peter doing, hours before his scheduled murder, in prison, chained to the guards?
“Peter slept like a baby.” (Acts 12:6)
Well, maybe Peter knew God would free him, and that’s where his faith came from. Except that after an angel appears and busts him out of prison, Peter says this:
“I can’t believe it – this really happened!” (Acts 12:11) Peter wasn’t expecting to be freed. He figured the worst would happen, but he was willing to accept God’s plan.
I am reminded of a story that’s not in the bible, so take it with a grain of salt. A man named Smith Wigglesworth – a great evangelist – once woke up in the middle of the night to find satan himself standing at the foot of his bed. Wigglesworth said ‘Oh. It’s just you.’, then he rolled over and went back to sleep.
Faith isn’t about believing the best will happen until it finally does. Faith is about fully accepting that what will happen is according to God’s plan. We can certainly ask God to do things – the church was fervently praying for Peter’s release. But when Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, he accepted that then answer was ‘no’.
If God tells you something is going to happen, trust in it. Jesus wasn’t worried in the boat because he knew God’s plan. Nothing would derail it.
Peter isn’t worried because even though he doesn’t know God’s exact plan, he knows that nothing will derail it.
God is in control. That’s why we can sleep in the storm. That’s why we can sleep like a baby when our execution is scheduled the next day. That’s why we don’t need to worry about the health of our children, or about where our next job will be.
I know it’s easier said than done, but there is hope. Peter went from freaking out in the storm to being at peace in the darkest of circumstances.
Let us continue to grow in our faith until we can rest easy when everyone else is freaking out. I can’t think of many more powerful ways to point to God in our lives than that.