14 Mar 2016

When the News Makes You Feel Like America’s Sinking and Jesus is Fast Asleep

Sometimes on Monday mornings you can look up and find yourself in what feels like a tiny dinghy surrounded by vast waters. And those waters are choppy.

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You get the kids off to school and you’re running on time and in good moods and then you have to walk back into your house. Or into your cubicle at work. Or into that classroom. And there are going to be bumps waiting for you. There are going to be people you bump into that make the water around you swell and sway and make you feel uneasy inside your little boat.

The headlines are loud these days and the storm raging across America can feel scary and desperate and like there’s no safe harbor to go. Feelings are on the rise as is the temperature of our political climate and on the weekends I take refuge in stacks of laundry and cinnamon rolls with the kids for breakfast and a good book in the late afternoon.

The louder it gets in the world around us, the safer this ordinary house feels with it’s bathroom floors always covered with grit from the soccer fields and cleats left laying along the entrance hall walls. I anchor myself to this house and its slow rhythm of PlayDoh parties and Wii battles because here I know my name. And the people here know my name and they love me with my hair that’s long overdue for a haircut and the jeans I’ve worn four days in a row.

But on Monday mornings, those anchors go out into the world and I’m left alone with my thoughts and the sometimes shouty email and deadlines and I can start to feel like I’m sinking.

And I’ve looked around and wondered where Jesus is. For goodness sakes can’t He see all the chaos that we’re up against these days. In the headlines and deadlines and in our own families and sometimes even in our own bodies. Where is He and what business does He have falling asleep on the job?

Have you ever thought that?

Have you turned on CNN and wondered what on earth is going on in the world today with war and fear and so much ugliness I’ve stopped watching it altogether.

And Jesus? I don’t know if I can trust Him when I can’t seem to find Him in all the loud shouting. All the fear and the pointing fingers and the conversations I don’t know how to have. I want to say things that help and instead I end up taking naps because it’s too much. I’m too little.

“I’m too little,” I tell Him. “Where are you?” I demand. “Get up and help us already,” I tell Him.

Because I can’t make sense of this world you designed and my faith feels like too little putty I’m trying to stuff into a crack in the bottom of my leaking boat. But the crack is too big for me and my hands are too little and my faith keeps letting the water seep in no matter how desperately I work to plug the holes in what I believe.

Wake up, Jesus. Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!

I’m saying these words in my own head yesterday morning while we’re getting ready for church. And then it hits me. The obvious. How did I miss it? I’m standing in front of the mirror with the curling iron in my hand when I remember that, of course, I’m not the first one.

Of course.

I’m not the first one to stand in a desperate boat, desperately afraid of the storm, wondering why the heck Jesus is asleep on the job.

Me and those first shaky disciples – we look out at the waves and the dark, angry clouds and we’re so afraid of what’s coming. We want to control it or outrun it or survive it. And all our faith is slipping through our fingers and our boats are wobbly and our Savior is asleep.

I stood in front of the mirror and made myself remember the story.

Jesus isn’t asleep because He doesn’t care.

He’s asleep because He isn’t afraid.

This is the part where my throat starts to get choked up and I put down the curling iron and just stare into space. And I can see two strong hands cover mine as I’m scrabbling at the bottom of my leaky boat. Two hands that cover mine and cover the leak and I’m not in a little boat anymore I’m standing on the solid ground of a wooden floor constructed by a trustworthy Carpenter.

I can’t tell you exactly how I got there. I just know that Jesus doesn’t plug holes. He builds floors. And bridges. And they stretch for mile after trustworthy mile. You can jump up and down on them. You can let your kids ride their bikes and their scooters on them with all the packs of neighborhood kids. You can make your bed on them and you can picnic in the very center where the beams connect, groove to groove, in pools of late afternoon sunshine.

I don’t have easy answers to the news – whether it’s on TV or coming from your doctor or your kid’s teacher or your co-worker. I only have the hope of a hand in mine. The hand of this man, Jesus, who isn’t afraid and who builds things that don’t sink. Especially on Mondays.

Comments

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  1. 1

    Love, love, love this. He isn’t afraid! Such good news. Such sweet relief.

  2. 2

    Brilliant. Needed. Thank YOU.

  3. 3

    This was encouraging! Thank you.

    I’ve been studying American history with my kids. One thing that helps me is the perspective our history gives me. We’ve come through a lot. This isn’t new. We’ve always been lead by ordinary people, some devout, others not, and still…and still…God leads us. I have turned off the news too, so bear with me if you are reading this and the whole world is on fire. The world has been on fire a lot, maybe more than not. But here we are. Fear not. There is a storm, but we’re in the boat.

  4. 4

    Oh gosh… right when I needed words of this magnitude. If I could hug yer neck, I totally would.

  5. 5

    From the moment I saw the title, the song “Oceans” rang in my ears. Especially the chorus:
    “And I will call upon Your name
    And keep my eyes above the waves
    When oceans rise I’ll rest in Your embrace
    For I am Yours and You are mine”.
    Here in South Aftica the storms are also raging. I’ve also (mostly) switched the news off.
    But praise God, when oceans rise and the waves threaten to overwhelm, He’s still in control and He holds me and I can rest in His embrace.

  6. 7

    Yes! Yes! Yes! I turned the news off years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I was a journalism major in college until I realized there was no such thing as unbiased news, but everyone in the industry thought there was. The winds of the news blow and bluster and look for the dark clouds and storms everywhere. The Divine silence when we turn off the noise of the news is pure bliss for me. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. 8

    Lisa-Jo, it’s like you’re in my head! Definitely been having feelings like this lately. I don’t want to be oblivious to what’s going on, but this election season has had me feeling discouraged and wanting to bury my head in the sand! God’s gentle whisper to me the other day was simply this – if I don’t like what I see in our culture, I have the amazing privilege as a mom, and the grand opportunity to change it for the better by the way I raise my kids. We moms can change the world!!

  8. 9

    This post makes me want to do a happy dance, Lisa Jo! It gives me hope. Thank you.

    Lynette

  9. 10

    “He’s asleep because He isn’t afraid.” — my breath caught right there. Yes, a thousand times yes; even if the waters rise, He is our anchor. Thank you for the good grounding, Lisa-Jo.

  10. 11

    Thanks so much for this encouragement today. I read this first thing this morning before taking my 5 year old son to the doctor for a lump in his neck and it was just the words I needed to hear. I felt this strange calm that is unlike me in these kind of situations. It looks like my boy will be just fine in a few days too. So appreciate your words.

  11. 12

    This was so beautiful. It was like you were in my head and mind. Thank you for speaking and reminding us of the Truth. The tears just keep pouring as I let it all sink in. THANK YOU!

  12. 13

    Beautifully said, Lisa-Jo. Thanks for the lift.

    • 14

      beautiful encouragement in perilous times like this
      Just like at the end of the Bible
      WE WIN!

  13. 15
    Stephanie Boda says:

    Yes and Amen. God is so good that He has brought our humanity to a crossing ,where we see and feel,and have common experiences ,while we live in separate boats. Thank you for reminding me of His strong hands.
    Stephanie Boda

Trackbacks

  1. […] Also – for more [deeper] encouragement, please don’t miss Lisa-Jo’s post about what to do when you feel like the world is sinking and Jesus is asleep. […]

  2. […] When the News Makes You Feel Like America’s Sinking and Jesus is Fast Asleep via Lisa-Jo Baker […]

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