And the Lord seemed to sleep

Those honest words were spoken by Pope Benedict during his final public address in St. Peter’s Square on February 27th.

Although I am not a big fan of the papacy, I very much appreciated the honesty and humility expressed by the retiring pope.

There are times when God does indeed appear to be asleep.  I know what the Scriptures proclaim.  God does not slumber nor sleep (Ps. 121:4).  But the Bible also contains the forthright words of struggling saints.

“Arouse Thyself, why dost Thou sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever. Why dost Thou hide Thy face, And forget our affliction and our oppression?” (Ps. 44:23,24)

Have you ever felt that God was indifferent to your concerns?  I have.  Have you wondered if your prayers were bounching off of the ceiling?  I’ve been there as well.  But the Lord was with me–even during the storms.  If I might–allow me to quote the entire section from the Pope’s speech:

“I have felt like St. Peter with the Apostles in the boat on the Sea of Galilee: the Lord has given us many days of sunshine and gentle breeze, days in which the catch has been abundant; [then] there have been times when the seas were rough and the wind against us, as in the whole history of the Church it has ever been – and the Lord seemed to sleep. Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque, that the barque of the Church is not mine, not ours, but His – and He shall not let her sink. It is He, who steers her: to be sure, he does so also through men of His choosing, for He desired that it be so. This was and is a certainty that nothing can tarnish. It is for this reason, that today my heart is filled with gratitude to God, for never did He leave me or the Church without His consolation, His light, His love”

“Nevertheless, I always knew that the Lord is in the barque.”

Translation:  Jesus is always in the boat.

At this point, let me distance myself from the context of the Pope’s address and apply his sentiments to my own situation.  Jesus is in the barque–present in the boat of my life.  He will not let me sink.  He will continue to steer me.  He has never left me without His consolation, His light, His love.

Friends–believe me when I state that I could provide Bible verses to support those claims!  Both Old and New Testaments are replete with passages which prove that God is present and active in the lives of His people.  His consolation is personal in the Holy Spirit.  His light is a lamp for my path as I open the Word.  His love is inseparable thanks to the words and works of Jesus Christ!

Yes–if we are honest enough to admit it–there are moments we wonder if the Lord has nodded off.  Our interpretation of our circumstances causes us to think that God is indifferent.  But He is not.  He remains in complete control.  And what He is doing is always consistent with His nature.  He is good and He does good (Ps. 119:168).

If you are one of God’s children, be encouraged today.  If you find yourself in a trial, keep trusting.  I am not Roman Catholic.  I deny aposotolic succession and papal infallibility and a host of other doctrines and practices.  But I do commend a man who is comfortable enough in his own skin to admit his doubts without rejecting his faith.


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