Remember – Jesus is in the boat!
Luke and Mark both tell the story of Jesus calming a storm in their gospel account of Jesus’ life on earth, in Mark 4 and Luke 8. Basically, Jesus gets in a boat (probably owned by one of His disciples who had been a fisherman) and tells them, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.”
Sounds pretty simple – EXCEPT…
A violent windstorm came down on the lake … the boat started filling with water … and Jesus was asleep on a cushion in the back of the boat. These men knew that lake and how to deal with the storms that came on them. Their lives depended upon knowing what to do.
But this was obviously a different kind of storm – were they bailing water as fast as they could? Trying to row to the nearest shore? What they knew to do wasn’t enough this time. They woke Jesus up and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are about to die?”
He cared. He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Be quiet! Calm down!” The wind stopped and it was dead calm! Pretty dramatic!
The disciples were afraid and amazed, “Who then is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him!” Jesus’ only comment was a question, “Where is your faith?”
This story is fresh in my mind because it was the text for a recent sermon, and I’ve had stormy seas to navigate lately. The disciples set out on a simple assignment from Jesus– get us to the other side of the lake. They were obedient – didn’t ask why, didn’t grumble because they really wanted to go home and chill out, or come up with an excuse not to go at all. They just went. And when the unexpected crisis happened, when their own resources were no match for what they were up against, they went to the One they knew would help them…the only One who could help them.
So why did Jesus ask them, “Where is your faith?” Didn’t it take faith and trust to get in the boat and go without knowing exactly where or why? Wasn’t it their faith that asked for help – because they knew Jesus could and would help them.
What was He looking for from them? In his sermon, my pastor said: “Faith dispels fear but only in proportion to its strength.” I don’t think Jesus meant they had lost faith. I think He was asking to make them aware that their fear had overwhelmed the strength available to them through their faith.
When we are on a stormy sea, it’s good to know that Jesus is in our boat! Not in person like He was for the disciples, but He said, “Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful.” (John 14:27) and “…remember, I am with you always to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)
We also have wise words from the apostle Paul on how to keep our faith when seas are rough: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
Storms and challenges of all kinds are part of life. Like the disciples, we need to go to the One who has promised to help us. Jesus is always in our boat, at our side.
Victoria Van Couvering is Women’s Ministry Director at Craig Christian Church. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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