Articles & Devotionals
Little or Great Faith
Greetings Church Family, I hope this message finds you all doing well and staying healthy. It is exciting news indeed that our country is finally taking the next steps to reopen some industries that have been closed for weeks. It definitely has been an adjustment that was imposed on us all at a rapid pace. Hopefully over the next few weeks we can come together again to have fellowship and enjoy a meal together.
With current thoughts playing through our minds I am sure there is still an element of uncertainty as to what it's going to look like going forward. As I read my scripture for the day from Matthew 8:23-27 I am comforted by the story of Jesus and the storm around him. Jesus had just finished the sermon on the mount, was cleansing lepers, healing Peters Mother-in-law, and finished his day talking to the people around him about what it means to be a disciple. Exhausted they boarded a ship and as we see in Luke 8:22 they were sailing to the other side of the lake. Jesus slept from pure exhaustion and I read into this that he was absolutely weakened. The storm arose and they had to wake him up in Matt 8:25. To be on a ship, out in the water, in a storm that is raging and your shipmates are in fear of their life and Jesus peacefully slept. He must have been utterly worn.
Yet when they do wake him finally from his slumber what is his reaction? Vs. 26 “Why are you so afraid, you men of little faith?” To which He immediately rebukes the wind and the sea and it became perfectly calm, amazing all of those who were with him. “What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the seas obey him?” That is easy for us to answer, this man is God and all is subject to Him!!! For them it had to be an absolutely amazing experience to take in. One moment fear and the very next awe as nature obeyed his very words.
When life throws us storms it is comforting to know that we can call on Jesus to quiet the seas of life around us. Imagine yourself in the boat with Jesus. How would you feel? What might you say to Jesus? We can all become discouraged by our doubts and by our difficulty in believing in Jesus, in his message, in his power. But it should encourage us to know that even the closest disciples of Jesus were not much different at times. They seem to have needed constant ‘experiences’ for their faith. The clearest example is when Jesus took a couple of them to the top of the mountain and let the reality of himself shine out with heavenly brilliance from behind his everyday presence and appearance and yet later they still denied Him. In this situation, the present scene of the calming of the storm is even more striking. Here, not only do we have a ‘seeing’ of God’s power present in Jesus – but we have a ‘witnessing’ of the Creator’s power in actual manipulation on the water. And yet, despite this miraculous calming of the storm, those disciples could at times still be as faith-less as they had been in that boat beforehand.
'Lord save us, we are perishing!' We are feeling swamped by the waves, while God sleeps, not interested or aware of our lot. Do I let my focus rest on the desperate situations in my present life, or that of the world, 'Why are you afraid, you of little faith?' Note the contrasts here. There is the terror of the disciples and the composure of Jesus who is asleep! There is the chaos of the storm and the ‘dead calm’ which follows after the intervention of Jesus. He shows complete trust in the protection of God, whereas the disciples are seen to be ‘of little faith’. This scene is often pictured and is a favorite for times of stress and of darkness - in the storms of life. We may feel Jesus is asleep, not near us. He woke at the moment he was really needed, and calmed the waters. In prayer he calms us too, maybe not immediately but when we really need him, he is there, a hand outstretched to save us from anxiety, darkness, and despair. The Lord of wind and sea, the one in whom all was created is the one who creates calm and confidence in everything of life.
Does being in the boat with a sleeping Jesus resonate in any way with situations in your own life? Have there been times of turbulence when Jesus (God) seemed uninterested, uncaring? If so, was your faith weakened or strengthened by having this experience? And today? Are we of little or great faith?