But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. (v.27) So the men marveled, saying “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
I’m gonna tell you right now: the Sea of Galilee (where this passage took place) isn’t as threatening as I thought it would be. It was pristine, quite beautiful and… rather disappointing. This is where Peter walks on water, where Jesus calms the storm, where Jesus finds Pete fishing again and asks him three times “Do you love me?” I picture a massive, powerful Sea with raging wind and huge waves. When I ask about this, the boat captain shudders and tells me: “Trust me… you do not want a boat ride when the storms pick up. It’s frightening.” Whatever, dude. I’m praying for a storm. I WANT to see Jesus walking across that water. I WANT to ride a storm out and show God how confident that I am in Him; that I am not one of “little faith”.
Do you hear how stupid I sound? Uh, yeah… I know. At the first drop of rain, I’m the guy under the seats yelling “We’re all gonna die!” Because God sends storms in my life and my reaction is typically LESS then He would hope for. And when I see Jesus walking towards me through those storms and hear Him calling out my name to come join Him, I rarely get out of the boat. I panic more often then not. I cry like the little baby that I am and point my finger at God while saying “You don’t Love me, do you?! Other wise, You wouldn’t make me go through this!” I allow fear to over-run my faith more times then I care to admit.
What is it about fear? What a powerful and dominating force fear can be. It can literally paralyze animals and people alike. I call it the “lock – down” mode because I can feel myself “locking up” every time a storm approaches. “He’s going into lock – down… we better do something quick!”
Fear has no place in the daily walk of the believer unless it is a Fear of God. If I Fear God, that means I have an understanding of God – I have gained knowledge of God. (Proverbs 2:5) In this state of existence, what possible outside forces should I then fear? As Oswald Chambers wrote, it must have been very disappointing to Jesus the lack of confidence these men had in His powers and abilities. They were his friends, the same guys who had witnessed first hand all that Jesus had already done. But what about the disciples? I wonder what they were feeling? How much greater must their pain been once the sting of this rebuke from Jesus hit them with its full force? (O. Chambers Journal; “The Theology of Rest”) Ouch. That’s all I’m saying. We’ve all felt that same pain ourselves. You know the moment. As soon as you’ve said or done a thing that is not so much horribly grievous as it is disheartening to the one it hurts, the one you deeply love and admire. Growing up, I always hated those moments when I had let my dad down much worse then doing actually doing something really bad. I can’t stand the wounded eyes of disappointment, alright?! Like… just yell at me or something but STOP looking at me like that!
My confidence lies in Him. The storm CAN seem frightening – but it’s looking through the storm that reveals who it is that is beyond the storm, over the storm and IN the storm with me. When I don’t believe I can over come some situation, or withstand a certain storm or come through a faith – blazing, fiery trial… I don’t really understand, yet, what it means to believe in Christ. We get this backwards… just as the disciples did. They followed Jesus but they had yet to arrive at the place where they truly believed IN Jesus and His Power. (Proving the scripture that it DOES take more then wonders and miracles to believe) And to be fair, it’s a process that takes going through many fires and surviving a life – time of storms. “I believe Jesus died on the cross – I believe He rose again – I believe in the communion of saints, in the forgiveness of sins, in the the resurrection of the body and life every lasting…” – it is this initial belief that securely saves the “un” believer, allowing him access to the Father through His son, Jesus Christ. Yet, old and new believers alike are faced with the same task from the very moment of their spiritual rebirth: learning to believe that Christ IS who He says He always has been; BELIEVING that He CAN and WILL do all that we claim and say HE can do. We preach it to the world on Sunday mornings but are we living it out (through storms and sunny days) the other six days of the week? To know God is to Fear God. To Fear God is to understand God. And what we find in this channel of belief IS life… straight from the wisdom of God’s own mouth.
Life is Fear, but we need NOT fear LIFE. God will take me to the breaking point. It is when I finally DO NOT break that my true confidence in Him is displayed. There are things to pray for, pray over and pray about. We are human. I think God knows us well enough to know THAT. If there was no need to pray there would be no need for Him. But He is molding us and growing us in preparation for that day to come, when we permanently abide in Him throughout His reign without fear of anything BUT Him – a day in which we will have a FULL understanding of Him. In the meantime, it gives our Father in Heaven great moments of Joy when we are able to arrive at this place… even if only temporary. I look forward to the day when this place becomes my permanent place of existence. As for now, I’ll keep learning how to arrive at this place more often AND stay awhile longer!
The crisis shows… who I truly rely upon. There’s no room to fear both circumstances AND God. If I DO fear God there’s nothing left TO fear…
Sean Gutteridge – August 19, 2010