Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. –Jonah 1:4-5
Joey was driving his truck to a St. Louis Cardinals game. My friend Pete was with him and they were cruising along on a perfect day at 75 mph, when suddenly there was a pop from in front of the vehicle and things started happening. Namely, the truck (now lacking an inflated front right tire) lurched toward the semi in the adjacent lane. Joey, white-knuckling the wheel to try to keep the truck from colliding with the semi, was desperately, and understandably, shouting curses. Pete looked over at him, assessed their skidding, perilous situation, and commented: “Yeah, this happened to my grandpa once.”
Eventually Joey wrestled the truck over into the median where they awaited a tow truck, and his first order of business was to punch Pete, “That is not how you act in an emergency!” is the edited version of what he said.
And he was right. There are ways we behave in emergencies and ways we don’t. And Jonah, while everyone else dealt with a raging storm and certain death, chose the latter. Burly sailing men were losing it up on deck, and Jonah was down below catching up on his sleep!
And here’s the thing: in our world, the storm is raging. We may not always see it, but there is disaster looming and uncertainty swirling. People are scared and hurting, and many of us, though we carry with us a blessed hope for a dying world, are chilling below deck. We just keep hitting the spiritual snooze button thinking that we will get serious tomorrow, or next year, or when things really get bad, when we have to. And, in this, we miss the great joy of bringing hope and sharing peace with those in need now.
What if we chose to wake up? What would happen if I didn’t tuck myself away from the storm but I went boldly into it? What if I chose spiritual adventure rather than indolence? What if today I would recognize God’s place, my role, and the reality beyond what I see?
God, please stir in my heart a desire for you that leads to a willingness to engage and to encourage others. Help wake me up to the need for more of you in my life and the need to bring your hope to others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.