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Friday, July 21, 2017

The Secret to Sleeping through the Storm: Between Starting Gun and Finish Line, Part 4

I was lying in bed… inside an elevator. The elevator car, with me in it, was flying through the air at breathtaking speed. The door was partially ajar. I could see through the opening that the steep drop down below would be fatal if I fell out. Wind rushed through the open space, whipping everything around that wasn’t tied down. Jarringly bumpy movement jostled the small space to and fro as we progressed. However, I remained unconcerned, stretched out on the mattress, awaiting the end of the ride.

Not long after that, I woke up. Holy Spirit was speaking to me through my dreams again. I recorded it in my journal and began to search out the meaning.

Within that same week, I was listening to the online recording of a dear friend preaching. She drew a parallel between trusting in God, and lying in bed. Immediately, my inner ears perked up. Daddy was clearly providing interpretation of the dream. “When you get into your bed,” she explained, “you’re not worrying about whether or not it’s going to fall apart under you. You settle your full weight into the comfort of your mattress, in absolute trust that the bed is going to hold you up all night long.”

I nodded thoughtfully. This is true! So complete is my abandon to my bed that soon after I get into it, I am deep in sleep. This sweet abandon continues for the entire duration of my slumber. Not once do I wake up to worry that I won’t safely make it to the morning without the bedframe collapsing.

I believe God is gently but pointedly asking us a question. Do we have this same absolute confidence in Him – or do we trust our beds more than we trust our Savior? This meditation brings me to the fourth point in our Active Waiting list. (In previous posts, you can find the beginning of the list.)

4) Sink Down Luxuriously into His Faithfulness

In reflecting further on my dream, I understand that an elevator is a symbol signifying transition. It represents God moving us to a new, higher level spiritually. He is transferring us to the place where we will finally see the birth of Baby Promise. Have you noticed what a wild ride it sometimes is, on the way to where He is repositioning you? Growth comes with growing pains – jostles, bumps and bruises, along with what often seems like constant exposure to danger.

My dream was a vivid picture of how uneven and uncomfortable our journey forward can be. However, right in the middle of that picture was a luxurious bed. And there I was, lying in it peacefully, utterly unperturbed by the rough ride. No matter how many bumps and bruises I have sustained on this perseverance marathon, Daddy has invited me to yield myself in trust to Him – just like I yield myself to my bed in utter reliance each night. It’s true that my bed never lets me down. But how infinitely much safer than my bed are my Daddy’s arms! How much more will He lift me up, protect me, and sustain me!

As I write, I’m reminded of a scene in the Bible similar to my dream. The picture comes to mind of Jesus asleep in the midst of a furious storm. Waves lashed the boat angrily, threatening to swallow it alive. The disciples were terrified, convinced they were brief moments away from death’s ruthless grip. In absolute, stark contrast, their slumbering Master was curled up pleasantly with His pillow. A look of the sweetest of undisturbed rest beautified His kind face. His supernatural peace was incomprehensible to them. However, they were about to witness that mighty peace coming up out of the inside of Him. It was going to transform their trauma into a moment they would never forget.

When I was reading this story recently, Holy Spirit pointed something out to me. Not only did Jesus find a legitimately frightening circumstance not at all frightening… but He also had a plan for the disciples to become entirely unfrightenable too. This was the point of the rhetorical question He then asked, “Why are you fearful, you of little faith?” He wasn’t venting frustration with that remark. Rather, He asked it to drive home to His dear friends that He meant for them to absorb and take on the same inner posture as His. He wanted to teach them to live in His absolute triumph over terror. He wanted to permanently impart to them the power of His peace. His goal was to make them utterly fearless.

This is His goal for you and me too. Too lofty? Unrealistic? Impossibly idealistic? Nah. Jesus is REALLY good at accomplishing His goals. These trembling, terrified men were the same ones that then went on to valiantly turn the world upside down with the message of the gospel. How did Jesus manage this? By walking them through it. By journeying with them. By showing them what it looks like to radiate peace even when hostile waves are assaulting your boat. By demonstrating for them how to pull on the mighty force of God’s peace, making everything around you line up under its power. And then by inviting them to live the same way.

Jesus is journeying with you, too. He is walking you through your personal tempest, giving you hands-on instruction on how to triumph over it. So rest. Sink down into His faithfulness. Grab a pillow, a soft throw, and get ready to nap as the storm howls on. Rest, deeply assured that He is working steadily and even relentlessly at transforming your weakness into strength, your fright into fearlessness. Rest, understanding what caliber of power He is utilizing towards this end: the very same power that Daddy exerted in His Son to raise Him from the dead and enthrone Him far above every name that is named! This is the mighty power that is right NOW “at work within us.” This guarantee of our transformation is actually a central tenant of His unbreakable covenant with us. He has sworn it by His very own name. And in this we can rest (see Rom. 8:11; Eph. 1:19; 3:20; Jer. 31:33; Ez. 36:26-28).

In Hebrews, He instructs us to “make every effort to enter [His] rest” (Heb. 4:11). Rest doesn’t happen by default. You need mindfulness and intentionality to enter it. Choose respite; choose rest, again and again and again, until the practice begins to shape you. The habit of deliberately resting gradually becomes the quality of restfulness within. The character trait of peacefulness increases inside of us little by little, day by day, as we regularly, continually, repeatedly decide to trust Him. Today, make the effort. Make the conscious choice to climb into the bed of trust, to lie down in surrender, and to rest.

I know. This is hard because the storm is at gale-force around you. Gargantuan whitecaps are crashing against your boat. But take heart, precious child. Jesus is on board. He is with you. There’s absolutely no way this ship is going to sink as long as He’s here. So go ahead, get comfy. Hunker down into His closeness. Pull the sumptuous blanket of His unfailing love up to your chin. Curl up cozily and abandon yourself to His meticulous and mighty care. Rest deeply into His fierce covenant loyalty to you. Fall asleep in His arms. Your Keeper, the One who does not slumber, has got you. As you drift off, He is murmuring something with utmost tenderness. Can you hear what He is whispering to your heart? “My little one, I love you with an everlasting love. Peace be still…”

“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Ps. 34:4, NKJV).

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  1. The enemy tempts us to fret over things that we cannot control, and many things that aren't even real! My yard is filled with roses and little sparrows, and God frequently reminds me of His words that we are much more precious to Him than they are--yet look
    How He cares for them! They don't toil or fret yet He lovingly provides all they need. He is such a good Father!

    1. YES He is!! And I love that you mention that Scripture -- just so "happens" I was just reading it yesterday morning! He is so good too with all His reiterations and confirmations!!

    2. Yes He is! I have a friend who calls it "God winks"!