“I think God was sleeping at the wheel.”
The remark came from an older man who identified himself as “Whitey,” a nickname reflecting his full head of stark white hair. A group of us were helping clean out a house across the street from him, following the Cedar Rapids flood of 2008. Seeing Whitey working alone in his yard we walked over to help him and share our lunch with him. It was when we asked to pray with him that he made the comment about God “sleeping” when the flood waters devastated his neighborhood.
It seems Whitey is in good company. Pope Benedict XVI used the same phrase in his retirement speech today. He reflected that there have been “many days of sunshine” but also “times when the water was rough…and the Lord seemed to sleep.” I love the honesty of his sharing personal experience. And he is not alone in feeling this way. This must have been how the followers of Jesus felt when the Lord was literally sleeping in the boat they were sailing and a storm suddenly came up. Mark records the critical moment saying, “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?”” (Mark 4:38)
This journey with Leukemia has included times when “the waters were rough,” and we know it will get rougher still. Like the disciples, it is clear to us that The Lord is still in the boat with us; He has not abandoned us. And also like them, we too have had moments of wondering how much He cares about the details of our situation. But just as He arose and calmed their storm, we know He calms us in the midst of our storm. This ‘knowing’ comes from faith and from seeing how God’s Word and His love guides us daily in very practical ways.
Have you felt that God was sleeping while you or a loved one were struggling? Has His presence brought you peace?
“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”