Two different kinds of tired.
I have often considered these two men sleeping in boats when I come to the end of my day and find myself exhausted. We find Jonah asleep in the boat as he tries to run from God’s will for his life.
“But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.” Jonah 1:5
I have been like Jonah, trying to take the socially acceptable “boat” away from what God has called me to in the home. Maybe it is the S.S. Blogger, or the S.S. Book, or the S.S. Target, or the S.S. Telephone. Maybe it simply laziness, or doing what I feel like doing as opposed to doing what needs to get done. Even though blogging, reading, shopping, and talking on the phone are as innocent as a boat ride in and of themselves, I know in my heart when I am using them to escape God’s will for my life. It is strangely fatiguing.
In striking similarity and contrast we see Jesus asleep in a boat.
“And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep.” (Matt 8:24)
He was tired for the opposite reason Jonah was asleep: He completely obeyed the will of His Father. I obviously can’t claim to be like Jesus here. But, by His grace, there are days when I am completely exhausted for very different reasons. I remember Douglas Wilson saying something to the effect that mothers of young children should feel tired each day, it means they’re doing their job right (does anybody have this quote?). Indeed, when I do my job (calling/ministry) over here, it is very tiring. There is nothing wrong with being really, really tired at the end of the day. It could be an indication that I am doing what God has called me to do.
But when I come to the end of my day, what brings rest to my soul is the same regardless of my performance: Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father, and His perfect obedience has been accredited to me. It is in His righteousness that I go to bed each night…not my own. Ahhh, such peace and rest is found here. The One who could say to the raging seas, “peace, be still” has said these words to my heart on my best day, and my worst. The Prince of Glory, who had no need to ever sleep or slumber, humbled Himself to be clothed in human frailty and as we see here, feel exhausted. Astounding! Why would He do this? Jesus perfectly obeyed the Father in his life, and in His death on the cross in order to save us from our sins, and bring us to God to the praise of His glory alone. Now, because of His work on my behalf, I can climb into the boat of obedience today. And when I lay my head down tonight, hopefully exhausted in the right way, I will find my rest in His work, not my own.