You know those mattress tags that threaten felony charges if you dare remove them?! Well, I recently received a pillow as a gift with a great tagline embroidered on it that I think should come on ALL pillows and never be removed either! The embroidery reads, “Give it to God and go to sleep.” Good advice right, and yet sometimes hard to put into practice. Philippians 4:9 (NIV) Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. God gives us so many faithful and precious promises yet how many do we practice putting our faith in?! I’m reminded of two things…
First, Mark 4:35-41 depicts a wild storm that Jesus somehow SLEEPS through! This is no regular storm either, this storm has even experienced fishermen who have lived their lives on the waters, now fearing death! Not only is Jesus sleeping through this massive storm but the Bible tells us Jesus is in fact asleep ON A PILLOW! This is not a picture of restless tossing and turning sleep, this is tucked in cozy and comfortable “do not disturb” deep sleep!! However the panicked crew throws being considerate to the tornado winds and wakes Jesus anyway. After Jesus calms the storm with a word, He asks them one question concerning their faith.
Jesus could sleep through the storm because His faith was focused on foundational Truth that no storm could ever shake. At Jesus’ baptism the sky ripped open and the Heavenly Father audibly spoke from Heaven declaring His affirming love and approval over His Son, Jesus Christ (see Matthew 3:17). The Bible gives us many names for our God which help us understand His character but maybe “Son” was the one Jesus held most dear as He walked this earth. It was this title Satan immediately attacks following Jesus’ baptism in the wilderness. Everything we are flows from our status as God’s child. So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, Galatians 3:26 (NIV)
Like Jesus who rested in the Truth of Who He was as God’s Son we too who have claimed Jesus as our Savior through faith in His death and resurrection, can rest as a son or daughter of His! All the promises are YES for His children (see 2 Corinthians 1:20)! The more intimate our relationship is with our Heavenly Father, the more secure we will be in our true identity, the more affirmed we will be in our purpose and the more clear we will be in our calling. It is the Truth that sets you free (see John 8:32)!
Satan’s tactics have not changed since the Garden of Eden. Satan didn’t take Eve down with a stick, he took her down with a thought. A thought that she allowed to take root and doubt God’s love for her and His good plan for her life… we are all still experiencing the fallout from that disaster! Jesus never wavered in His faith in His Father and His Word. Jesus knew He was God’s Son so nothing would shake Him. He would make it through all the storms. Was it easy?! NO! The cross was horrific but in the end it was to the enemies horror that Jesus was found standing, living and breathing on the outside of the tomb!!
Before the storm in Mark 4 Jesus told the crew they would make it to the other side. Rather than rest in that true and faithful word they focused on what they could not control and freaked out! If you were to make a list of what is IN your control and what is NOT, you might be astounded at how much longer the list of what is IN your control actually is!! You may not have control over the “wind and the waves” of your storms but you DO have control over your thoughts about them, your perspective of people, your willingness to forgive, to let go of a grudge, to choose patience and joy… you have control of your words and your actions and your responses to people and circumstances… the list goes on and on! Don’t let the enemy trick you out of the control you have over your mind. We do this by giving our mind to Jesus, the Author and perfecter of our faith. Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
True to His word, the entire crew made it safely to the other side of the lake that stormy day. We too in Christ have been given that same Word. 2 Timothy 4:18 (NIV) The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. He didn’t promise it would be easy rather there would be evil attacks even! But in Christ we make it to the other side! We might come in hot like a cannonball on fire but as His daughter, as His son, every single one of us will stick that landing as a perfect 10 and we won’t even smell like smoke, dear one!
Now for the second thing my new pillow reminded me of… As a mom of six kiddos it was often during nap time that I got so much of my “to-do” list accomplished. And I don’t know about you but my kids always seemed to grow an extra inch just while they slept! I’m sure our Heavenly Father is able to effectively accomplish anything anytime, but I wonder if maybe He’s lovingly thinking to Himself over some of His children (present company included), “Good grief child, please just take a nap!” And why?! So that through abiding in Him, He might do some of His best growing work in us (see John 15:5)! Dear one, He always affords us every ounce of energy and will to accomplish what He has asked of us. Expending our own energy over our own agenda will just leave us drowning in exhaustion! Rather making a choice that is in our control to rest in Him through faith and trust, grows an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, opening a conduit through which a peace that passes understanding will flood our souls through any storm that’s out of our control. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 (NIV)
Give it to God and go to sleep, dear one. God bless you muchly~
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 (NLT)