Jesus and His disciples are out on the Sea of Galilee in a small boat. Jesus, exhausted, is asleep in the back of the boat when a storm to beat all storms arises. Jesus awoke to their cries: “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” (Matthew 8:25 NLT). Hr rebuked the wind and the waves, and the Bible then records: “…and suddenly there was a great calm.” (Matthew 8:26b NLT). This is such a comforting passage of scripture. We have all taken great comfort in the fact that when we are in a storm of life, just one word from Jesus and the storm is … gone!
A very different message caught my attention as I read this story tonight. My spirit jumped right to what Jesus did … before … He rebuked the wind and the waves: “Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’” (Matthew 8:26a NLT)
Wait. Why would He rebuke them? Wouldn’t it be expected, in such a significant storm, that they be afraid? Yet Jesus … rebukes them!
Last night we found ourselves in the grips of a significant thunderstorm cell. Lightening split the sky, and the thunder was so loud the windows and doors rattled. We even lost power. It was all only an inconvenience, however. We knew we were safe. We knew the house would protect us from the storm.
What we didn’t realize is that Roxy didn’t know this… As the thunder roared and crashed, this 11-year-old cat spooked and ran. Our son found her in the farthest corner of the dark crawl space under the house, cowering in fear. You could almost hear her thoughts: “Save me! I’m going to die!” In her little mind, she was seconds aware from sure and certain death.
But Roxy wasn’t seconds away from death. In fact, she was in absolutely no danger whatsoever. Her problem was that she didn’t know this. She didn’t have any faith in the fact that the house would protect her.
It was no different with the disciples. They were in absolutely no danger whatsoever. After all, they had the Creator in their boat. Problem was, just like Roy, they didn’t understand that they weren’t in any danger.
Here, however, the comparison with the cat falls short. You see, Roxy has a big excuse: She doesn’t understand spoken language. We had no way of telling her she was safe. The disciples, on the other hand, had been travelling with Jesus. They knew what He was the Son of God. They had witnessed miracle after miracle. Unlike the cat, they had no excuse for being afraid, and this is what motivated Jesus’ response to them: “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” (Matthew 8:26a NLT)
It’s true that storms are becoming a lot fiercer, and in the midst of hurricanes, tsunamis and tornados, some of them give us real reason to fear. The kinds of storms we find ourselves in most often, however, have nothing to do with wind and waves. A loved one is sick. There’s been economic collapse and job loss, etc. What is our response? Do we shout out in fear, demanding that God remove the storm? If we do, then we, like the disciples in Jesus’ boat, are in danger of receiving Jesus’ reproach: “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!”
God isn’t cold-hearted, however. Although we deserve this rebuke, more often than not, He is reaching out His hand to help us through the storm. He sends us comfort, encouragement, strength, wisdom, etc., and our only responsibility is to accept His gifts.
Roxy knew all about this. Our son tried to console her. He talked to her and tried to hold and comfort her, but the storm was too much for her. Especially when the power came back on and with it the fire alarm… In her mind, talk and caresses weren’t taking away that scary noise. She didn’t relax until that booming and banging stopped!
Are we like Roxy? You see, I would suspect that often times, in the midst of our trials, we don’t even recognize God’s hand on our lives. I mean, what do you do when someone gives you a simple hug when what you really need is a job? What about when you can’t pay your rent and someone offers to … pray! Well, that’s nice, but it doesn’t pay the landlord!
Nonetheless, Roxy would have been able to weather the storm a lot easier if she would have accept the comfort offered to her, if she would have trusted our son to protect her from the noise. In the same way, even though the help God sends doesn’t always take away the problem, we would ride out the storms a lot more easily if we would accept His gifts.
I challenge you to think about that the next time you find yourself caught up in a major life-storm. Remember: You don’t need to be afraid, God WILL come through!
Oh, and returning to the story of Jesus calming the storm, let’s notice that the disciples’ lack of faith didn’t actually stop Jesus from calming the storm. That’s how much He loves us! But wouldn’t it be so much better for all of us it we’d just skip over the fear and jump right to the faith?
Think about it!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two adult boys, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, The Illustrator, a four-times-a-week internet newsletter, and the Sermon Illustrator website, all with Answers2Prayer Ministries.