And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but Jesus was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:24-26
The darkest days of our lives are kind of like the storm on the sea. We feel like we’ve run out of hope, like there is no way out of the darkness. We panic and even cry out, “Save us, Lord,” in the midst of our fear, hoping He will do something to rescue us. But still we feel afraid, because hidden beneath our cries for His help is the haunting thought that He just might not come through. We hope, but not with confidence. We turn to Him, but only in despair, like ones grasping blindly for a lifeline. Just like the disciples who had the physical presence of God on the boat with them, we do not fully comprehend the power of the One who is with us out on those stormy seas.
Out in the storm, Jesus asked his disciples a question that speaks right to my heart: “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” That question stings my soul because I want to have great faith. I feel rock solid in my faith at times, but then some big waves come crashing around me and swamp the boat I am sitting in. I look in panic at the rising water swirling around me, and I give in to the fear that wants to grip me. Those threatening circumstances seem so big, like there is nothing that can overcome them. I cry out to Jesus to help me, but at the same time I try to rationally figure out the situation in my own mind. And when I lean on my own limited understanding, I cannot see any possible way out. I think to myself, “How could God possibly help me in this situation?” Oh the foolish questions I have asked! And they stem from the fact that I do not fully understand the One who is right there in the boat with me.
To my consolation, the disciples did not fully understand who Jesus was either, even though he was physically in their midst. They had heard Jesus’ amazing, revolutionary teachings come right from His lips; they had seen with their own eyes how He could heal terminal illnesses and cast vicious demons out of people. However, when it came to believing in His power in their own lives, they weren’t quite as confident that it could have the same effect. They looked at those great waves and thought about the worst possible things that could happen. They knew to call out to Jesus in their desperate time of need, but not without fear gripping their hearts and logic ruling their minds.
I can completely relate to the disciples in this way. I have seen God’s power at work in my own life; I have felt God’s river of grace wash over me. I have read His Word and have been a witness to its living, active power. I have prayed desperately to God and have seen Him answer my prayers. Yet when I have been faced with overwhelming obstacles, my tendency has been to focus on my own limitations instead of God’s limitless power. How foolish this seems when I come to terms with who Jesus really is. He is the creator of the universe, the lamb of God who overcame death, and the One who rebukes forces of nature with just the sound of His voice.
When the disciples witnessed Jesus’ calming of the sea, they “marveled, saying, ‘What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the waves obey him?’”(Matthew 8:27). At that moment, the disciples came face to face with a man who displayed complete power over seemingly uncontrollable forces. And it was easy for Him. With just a word from His mouth, the raging seas became as smooth as glass. This is the reality of God’s power, and it is with us as believers in Christ. But we cannot be strengthened by that power it if we don’t believe in it. And we can’t have unshakeable faith in God if we view Him only within the scope of our limited human minds.
Without a doubt, fierce storms will continue to come along to test our faith, and fear and doubt will want to creep in and become the center of our focus. However, this is where we must cling to what we know is real: that there is nothing on this earth that is beyond the control of our God. He has the power to take even the most impossible situations and turn them around for our good and His glory. He is our faithful God, and he is mighty to save. Zephaniah 3:17 speaks these wonderful truths about our God: “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Let us cling to these truths when the seas are stormy; let us find peace as we place our faith in Him. He will not fail us.