Sometimes the tiny details of scripture blow me away. Little tidbits that did not have to be included but are. Usually I only notice them after I’ve read certain passages hundreds of times. In Mark’s gospel, Chapter 4, there’s a story most of us know about the disciples and Jesus being out in a boat when a huge storm comes. This wasn’t just a normal storm, it was a waves-over-the-side-of-the-boat storm. When the frightened disciples finally thought to look for Jesus they found him in the stern or back of the boat, asleep…and then this detail, his head was rested on a pillow or cushion. (Spoiler alert, they wake him up and he calms the sea.)
Once I saw the pillow detail, I could not un-see it. I wondered if those kinds of boats always had pillows or cushions aboard. Or, what if Jesus brought his own? Maybe his was like my hot pink crescent shaped travel pillow that I used pre-pandemic when I flew on airplanes. I’ve researched it before and learned that back in those times there actually were cushions aboard some boats.
Then, I don’t know if this is right or wrong, but I want one. I want one of those Jesus Peace Pillows. I want a reliable place to lay my head where the storms of life won’t bother me. I want a pillow so effective that I won’t even notice the waves crashing overboard or how moist my surroundings were becoming. (Note: I just included the word moist here to see if my daughter actually reads my blog. That is her least favorite word.)
Where you can get a Peace Pillow? Etsy? Amazon? Home Goods?
Today’s Jesus Calling devotional by Sarah Young mentions almost the same thing, a Cushion of Calm. The world around you seems to spin faster and faster, till everything is a blur. Yet there is a cushion of calm at the center of your life, where you live in union with Me.
And again, I’d like that. Where do you buy a Cushion of Calm? I can just see myself floating on the cushion of calm, through what’s left of this pandemic and the fall out from it. Is it like one of those foam swimming pool mats? Or is it more like a body pillow? I can just see myself curling up with it when the storms come and life seems overwhelming.
I’ve mentioned this before and I don’t know if it is my imagination or our current reality, but life seems harder and more complicated now. The people I know are not just experiencing one difficulty at a time but layers of them. The changes and fall out we are all experiencing includes parenting and grandparenting issues, financial repercussions, deferred attention to our health, grief-layers of it. The gatherings we are having are still hard and certainly not as they used to be. Isolation and mental health and addiction issues are skyrocketing, as is domestic abuse. I don’t know about you but I’ve also developed some new phobias through this whole thing that I’m finding hard to shake even when experts are telling me things are okay in some ways. Re-entry into life seems as difficult as staying home.
Spring may be here. There may be light at the end of our tunnel. Help may be on the way. The corner may be turned, but in the midst of all that it is still quite frighteningly stormy and the waves are still coming over the sides of most of our little boats.
We need a Jesus Peace Pillow. We need a Cushion of Calm.
The devotional from Jesus Calling and the story from Mark’s gospel both show us where to get those items. Jesus, more than anyone who ever lived, was as close to God as one can be. He was fully aligned with God’s presence and God’s will. He knew better than any of us that he was in God’s hands. His Peace Pillow came from that. The Jesus Calling entry gives the answer too. (March 9 entry) You get the Cushion of Calm by living in union with God, like Jesus did. Eyes on God, not the storm. Listening to God’s voice, not the thunder. I love the way The Message translation of Mark 4 tells the story, Jesus is awakened. He tells the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, ‘Quiet! Settle down!’ The wind ran out of breath; the sea become smooth as glass. Mark 4:35-41.
Soon, maybe the storm winds we’ve been battling will run out of breath. One of these days the stormy seas of this strange time will become as smooth as glass. In the meantime, our eyes stay fixed on God, our souls clinging to God (Psalm 65:7-8), our heads resting on pillows of peace, our tired bodies stretched out on cushions of calm.
Thank you God, for this Word. Amen
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to Keller, Pace and River. Go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com for more blog entries, upcoming speaking events and to learn about the Weekly Jesus Calling Prayer call she co-hosts on Tuesday mornings at 7 a.m. CST.