Jesus may be "sleeping," but our trust in his love should never fail.
In the Gospel of Mark, the apostles were frustrated with Jesus, as they were in a storm at sea and he was sleeping!
A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:37-38)
We may feel like this at different times in our lives. A crisis may occur and we may look around and cry out to God, asking him to wake up!
However, while Jesus may appear to be asleep, he is not, as the Song of Songs illustrates for us. In the 19th-century book The Catholic prayer book and manual of meditations, writer Patrick Francis Moran reflects on a line found in the Song of Songs that complements the account of the apostles at sea.
“I sleep, and my heart is watching.” — [Song of Songs 5:2]. “I sleep,” he says, “and my heart is watching.” Had Jesus simply said “I sleep,” and no more, his words, far from giving me that delight which they now convey, would but have created inquietude and alarm. Jesus sleeps, and the devil, my enemy, is awake, and going about like a lion ready to devour me! … Jesus sleeps! Who then will keep guard over me? … My hope sleeps! In whom shall I hope?But he who is at once my love, my hope, and my strength, does not leave me long in suspense. “I sleep,” he says, “but my Heart is watching.” O words of sweet encouragement! That sleep which leaves the heart awake is not a torpid, inert sleep; that sleep in which the heart sleeps not, is not a sleep of forgetfulness. The Heart of Jesus is watching! He can then still love me. The Heart of Jesus is watching! He can then still aid me.
Jesus loves us much, and while he may test our faithfulness and trust in him, he never stops watching over us and guiding us in the right direction.
The Heart of Jesus neither slumbers nor sleeps. Its love excites it, and keeps it ever in action. It is incessantly watching over my dearest interests — over my mind to enlighten it; over my heart to inflame it with its pure love … over my thoughts to direct them arightWhen Jesus appears to sleep, His Heart is watching.
These words from the Song of Songs then shed some light into how he addresses his apostles, who did not understand how Jesus was still keeping watch over them.
“Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mark 4:40)
Whenever the storms of life rock our world, let us try to keep the faith and trust in Jesus’ plan. He may appear to be sleeping, distant and unloving, but in reality, his Heart never sleeps and continues to love us and guide us back to him.