Faith is something that’s always intrigued me, maybe because it’s one of those things that I’ve never seen as my strong suit. I’m a pretty skeptical human being and I naturally question most things. Rarely do I take anything at face value—I need some proof or I need to trust the source before I will adopt something as truth. During pretty much any sermon, I will have a question about something the communicator is saying that I will jot down to have to look into later. My faith in the Lord has grown over time as I’ve walked with him, but I’m still growing and learning daily.
Matthew 8 is a chapter that really caught my eye the other day as I was studying for another book that I’m currently writing. A powerful contrast is made in this chapter that I don’t think that the disciples or anyone around Jesus would’ve seen coming. So we’re going to spend a few days camped out in this chapter, examining the faith of others to see what we might learn about ourselves.
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”” Matthew 8:23-27 (NIV)
This whole story is excellent fodder for my imagination run wild with all kinds of different scenarios. Why did they have “little faith”? Was it because they thought they would drown because of the storm? Was it because they waited too long to wake Jesus? Or they didn’t wait long enough? Or did they do everything right, but Jesus knew the lack of faith in their hearts?
I don’t know that there’s a clear-cut answer to this one, but I think that the questions I raised about this chapter say a lot about me. I tend to focus on their behavior: what did they do wrong to get that response from Jesus? If I can make this story about what to do or not do, I can figure out a way to always achieve faith. But I’m certain that’s not the point of this story— it’s about Jesus.
When things got hard for the disciples or their low faith levels were on display, Jesus didn’t teleport or walk on water out of there, he was securely planted in that boat with them. And the same is true for us.
We are currently in a moment of global uncertainty and fear, in addition to whatever else we have going on our lives. And, thankfully, Jesus is right here with us. If we are fearful, numb, angry, heartbroken, or any other emotion, he isn’t going anywhere. If our faith is depleted or has grown weary, Jesus is still present.
I used to read this story of Jesus calming the storm as him rebuking the disciples, but that’s not what it says. He replied to the disciples and then rebuked the wind and the waves. When our faith is lacking, when we are terrified, exhausted and at our edge, Jesus offers a reply, not a rebuke. Jesus loves you and he speaks accordingly.
Whatever our faith levels are at today, I pray that we would spend a little more time with him today. I hope that we would take comfort that he is with us and will never leave us. I’m so thankful that he is willing to get into the boat with us in the middle of a storm.
What do you think about faith?
Do you find it comforting that Jesus is with you? Why or why not?