small boat. Big Storm. Sleeping Jesus?

Need help in the storms of life? Ever feel like you're in a small boat, big storm and Jesus is asleep? Traci Burns understands and has a message of hope.

I’m thankful to my dear friend Traci Burns for sharing more of God’s story in their lives.

April 14, 2012.

My husband, Weyland, and I were in Atlanta visiting our dear friends, Mike and Janice Ripley. 

Weyland and I had just finished touring Margaret Mitchell’s home when a friend of our 23-years-old daughter Anna called.

She didn’t want to alarm us, but she and some others had been trying all day to get in touch with Anna and couldn’t reach her. It was around 3:30 pm. Our hearts raced. We knew we had to get back to the Ripley’s.

As Weyland wove through downtown Atlanta traffic, we called family and friends.

Had anyone talked with her?


While still driving in Atlanta traffic, Weyland’s phone rang. The caller ID showed an unfamiliar number.

As traffic sped past, Weyland answered his phone, and our world stopped. 

A coroner was on the line. Anna had been involved in an accident. Her truck had gone off the highway in the early morning hours and she’d died instantly.

To say that nothing could have prepared us for that moment would be wrong.

God had prepared us, but as Weyland heard those words and then repeated those words to me, we felt numb and overwhelmed in disbelief.

It felt like Jesus was asleep in our boat. He had to be. Because if Jesus were awake, surely this tragedy would not have happened (Mark 4:35-41).

After we reached our friends’ house, Weyland went inside and delivered the news.

Janice rushed out to the car where I sat, too paralyzed to move. We held each other and cried. Weyland and Mike joined us. We all cried.

When I was able to move from the car to the front steps, I looked up to see Weyland holding his Bible and quoting verses.  

As my emotions swirled, I heard Weyland say, “Now we have to live what we said we believe.” 

What do I believe?

I believe Jesus Christ was born, crucified, and rose from the dead so that if I chose to confess my sins and believe in Him, I can spend eternity in Heaven.

What do I know?

I know that I have a personal relationship with Jesus.  

And I also know Anna had a personal relationship with Jesus.  

So I know I’m only temporarily separated from my precious daughter. We will spend eternity with Jesus together. 

The great news of the gospel held and comforted me when the tragic news of Anna’s death crushed me. It still does.

Jesus didn’t abandon us in our darkest hour. He was still in the boat, wide awake. 

And His own death gave us the power we needed to make it through that crushing hour and every hour since. 

God won’t abandon you either. If you’re in a small boat and a Big Storm, know that Jesus is still in your boat. And He is wide awake and working out His will for you. 

I don’t just believe that. I know it. I’m living it. 

What a mighty God we serve!

And if you join me next time, I will share specific examples of how Jesus never forgot about me but was constantly working on my behalf because Jesus NEVER sleeps.


I know many others have also experienced the heart-breaking, tragic loss of a child or loved one. But not as many have been able to sing “It is well with my soul” as Traci has done every moment since they received the crushing news.

Traci didn’t scrape her way to the surface of acceptance and force herself to speak words of positive affirmations.

She stood firm on the beliefs she proclaimed and found they wouldn’t fail her.

Please follow along with us on Join the Journey as Traci reveals how we, too, can know true peace and joy in the midst of pain and smile even through our tears.

If you missed Traci’s first post, click here: Are You Facing a Storm? Jesus is Bigger Than We Let Him Be.  

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Traci Burns "Thoughts To Think" on Join the Journey ( Burns is a wife, mom, and messenger of hope and healing. She never planned to be a blogger. She also never planned to live a story that must be told. Now, wherever Traci can, she shares the peace and comfort she’s found — even in the midst of pain — in a God who’s good all the time. She spreads the news with joy and laughter that Jesus Christ, the One who stills the storms, wants to steer our boat. Traci and her husband Weyland live in Lexington, SC. Their two sons live in the Greenville, SC area. Their daughter lives in heaven.