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FREEDOM FROM FEAR, Part 4: When Jesus Appears to be Asleep

by | Oct 18, 2014 | Faith, Freedom From Fear (A Mini-Series), Freedom in Christ, Trials

In the last three lessons from FREEDOM FROM FEAR, we have learned that fear is an indication that we don’t love perfectly. That perfect love is demonstrated in faith, and faith, then, becomes the antidote to fear, and that faith is the acknowledgement that God has authority over all things. But aren’t there times when we find ourselves in the midst of frightening circumstances, and when we try to take a stand in faith, nothing happens? Aren’t there times when God appears to be asleep?

You know what I mean! You lose your job, you find yourself in dire financial straits with no help in sight! Where is God in times like this?

And what about that diagnosis of cancer? Your child is deathly ill, you cry out to God, and the tumor grows instead of disappearing! Where is God then?

Then there’s the messed up marriage. Your spouse is unfaithful to you, he wants a divorce. You pray that God will repair the broken relationship, but instead, your spouse moves in with his or her lover, leaving you and the kids completely alone! Where is God?

Can it really be that He sleeps?

The Bible says no: “He will not let your foot slip – he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Ps 121:3-4 NIV). But wait, the disciples actually experienced God sleeping! They caught Him in the act! On a small fishing boat, in the middle of the night and the middle of a storm, on the Sea of Galilee!

According to my reference Bible, it wasn’t uncommon for sudden, violent storms to come up on the Sea of Galilee. In fact, the waves on the little lake could easily reach the height of two metres (7 feet). Neither was it uncommon for fishermen to be crossing the sea at night, for this was their prime fishing time. We know that many of Jesus’ disciples were seasoned fishermen, so that fact that this storm sent them into a panic would indicate that it was a storm of all storms! Far worse than what they normally saw on the lake!

And there was Jesus, in the back of the boat, asleep.

And if the story had ended here, our logical conclusion would be that God does sleep when we are in trouble!

But the story doesn’t end here!

After finding Jesus sleeping, “The disciples went and woke him, saying, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’ He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?'” (Matt 8:25-26 NIV)

We all learned the next line in Sunday School: Jesus then got up and calmed the storm. But that’s not the really valuable lesson in this story! The lesson of REAL value lies in Jesus’ first response: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”

What Jesus is saying is that the disciples were wrong to be afraid in this situation! Their fear spoke of their lack of faith! Jesus wasn’t asleep because He wanted them to experience extreme fear. He wasn’t sleeping because He wanted them to see a fabulous miracle. He was sleeping because there was simply nothing TO fear! It didn’t matter to Jesus that there were a few 7 foot waves tossing the little boat around! He knew everything would come out okay!

Friends, those times in your lives when you feel God is silent, when circumstances dictate that He must be sleeping, it’s because He already has everything under control! The solution has already been mapped out! He has you where you need to be, safe in the ark of His love! Nothing will happen to you that He won’t help you through! Nothing will happen that is outside of His will! Nothing will happen that He won’t turn into something glorious and beautiful! He appears to be asleep, because there is, simply, nothing to fear!

But what about the fact that Jesus, who though in human form and nature, was still 100% God, was asleep in the back of that boat?

Jesus slept in the back of that boat to leave us an eternal example. He wanted the world to see that when troubles rise, you can rest so peacefully in the arms of God that you can sleep through the storm!

Friends, the next time you find yourselves in the middle of a major life storm, remember Jesus’ response on that stormy night on the Sea of Galilee. He was asleep because everything was already under control and He knew it. When fear creeps in and God doesn’t appear to hear us, our job is to put our trust in Him, whether we feel His presence or not! Our job is to give Him our fear, and to simply believe that somehow, it will all work into something beautiful!

But the Bible DOES speak of times when God doesn’t listen … Join us next Saturday for FREEDOM FROM FEAR, Part 5: But There ARE Times When God DOESN’T Listen …

In His love,


Lyn Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, Mother of two teens, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems,, with Answers2Prayer Ministries,

(To access the entire “Freedom From Fear” mini-series, please click here.)