• Chaka Heinze

In the Boat with Jesus, Puking Over the Side

Updated: Dec 9, 2017


Why does everyone else on Facebook seem to be holiday partying, buying presents, and making Christmas plans while we’re sitting in the hospital with an uncertain tomorrow?


Is God still on his throne? Sure. Do I still believe that His intentions are for our greatest good? Absolutely. But still, it’s hard not to ask why.


Why is this happening?


Why doesn’t He accomplish his plan in a different way?


Why does my son have to experience pain?


Why doesn’t God want me to sleep?


I’ve cycled from faith to fury and back again. At present, I’m sitting somewhere in between. Certain that God can do anything, and hurt that He would allow us to be here again.


My daddy shared some wisdom with me on the phone yesterday, explaining from scripture what to do when hardship or suffering comes. How to respond when you’re at sea tossed around by a storm and Christ is sleeping on the boat (See Mark 4:35-41). He reminded me that I’m still in the boat with Jesus—even if I might be puking over the side.


A squall raged around them, the small boat was threatened, their lives were on the line, and Jesus

was peacefully sleeping on a cushion. What indignation the disciples felt. “Don’t you care if we’re going to drown?” They shouted to be heard above the noise of the crashing waves.


“Don’t you care that they're blowing his veins trying to get another IV in his arm? Don’t you care that he’s hyperventilating, and it took me and three nurses to hold him down?”


And Jesus awakens, rebukes the storm and admonishes the disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith? (Matthew 4:40, NIV).


The disciples were taking a ride with Christ himself in the boat. The same One who helped set the weather elements in place. That fact alone should have emboldened these men to laugh in the face of the storm. To taunt it in Lieutenant Dan style, “Is that all you got?”


But these men were too stressed out by their circumstances to rest in the presence of their divine passenger. The sea was roiling, the waves were too big, the boat was too small. And their lives were on the line.


About half an hour ago, the surgeon and a few support staff interrupted my writing. They proceeded to pull gauze from my son’s open wound and clean out the site. My child shouted and cried. It was a painful experience. Heartbreaking to watch. And, in the moment, it was all I could see.


In the midst of pain, it’s hard to remember the divine presence riding out the storm by our side. These are the times that all I can do is hold onto the truth of what my daddy told me, I am still in the boat with God. I haven’t abandoned ship, and he’s not going anywhere.


Asking God the whys doesn’t always help me. But sometimes it’s a useful part of the process in drawing near to him. Overwhelmed by fear, the disciples had the sense to turn to Jesus, snoozing away on his pillow. They may have lacked a proper respectful tone when addressing the Son of God, but Jesus still calmed the storm at their request. My questions lifted up in groans, whispers, or cries help thrust me into His presence.


I still don’t have any answers, and I’m still a little mad about this turn of events. But it helps to know that no matter the height of the waves or the depth of the pain, Jesus and I are in this together.