What if we don’t know the condition of our faith?
Ignorance isn’t always bliss. Sometimes, it can really harm us when we don’t know what we SHOULD know, especially as it pertains to our faith. It is entirely possible to have little faith when all along, we think our faith is just fine. One of the things I value the most about Christ is the love He has for us so that we are not left the way we are- spiritually blind and immature in our faith.
As believers, we can have the confidence that Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, will shepherd us into maturity for His glory and our good. He did this for the disciples and He continues it in our day.
What rocked the boat?
It seems that when all is going well, it is easy to think our faith is good enough. But let a “storm” come along that tests us and we may gain a new perspective. The disciples experienced this scenario first-hand.
On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41 ESV
I’m sure the disciples boarded the boat thinking “smooth sailing” was coming their way. They had the Son of God next to them so they probably thought that meant a certain amount of protection from “rough waters”.
I certainly did!!
The Unexpected Storm
Just as the disciples were blissfully unaware of what awaited them, so was I. Only a few years ago, God allowed one of our children to experience a devastating disappointment. It caught all of us off guard during a season where we were already weak and weary. We were expecting hopeful circumstances for this child but instead, it was worse than we anticipated.
It was heartbreaking actually.
Where we had expected smooth sailing, rough waters with monstrous waves threatened to drag us under. We were fighting just to keep our heads above water, not knowing how long the storm would last or how long we had the strength to endure.
What I learned was that it tested my faith like little else had in my life. I have had some significant trials during my years but they paled in comparison to this. Because it was my child going through it, it felt so much worse than anything I had personally gone through in life. It felt intolerable to watch our child experience their worst fears becoming a reality.
“Storms” can catch us unaware, leaving us vulnerable as we try to hunker down and ride it out. Like the disciples, we are left wondering why Jesus was snoozing away with a crisis at hand.
What the storm revealed
The storm revealed much about the faith of the disciples as they demanded an explanation from Jesus. Their question gave evidence to what they were thinking and feeling.
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Mark 4:38 NIV
The perceived threat to their well-being prompted their reaction. In an instant, what they REALLY BELIEVED surfaced. And it wasn’t too pretty…..
They basically condemned Jesus. Their question revealed their expectation of Him AND the fact that He wasn’t meeting it! He was supposed to make everything go ok…….. at least that was their underlying belief.
The storm showed the vulnerability in their faith, where they were expecting and believing the wrong things.
Admittedly, so had I.
I too had made a “bargain” with God of sorts- He would make sure the storms never became too fierce. If I stayed close to Him, He would make sure the worst storms stayed at bay.
Well, the problem with that is God never agreed to such a thing, nor is it supported in Scripture. It was an unspoken understanding I had that actually showed the weakness in my faith, just as it had for the disciples.
Indications of weakness
The question the disciples demanded of Jesus communicated 2 beliefs they had in that situation. They may not have even realized they held to such misconceptions but given the right storm, it came bubbling to the surface.
Your words show what is in your hearts. Matt.12:34 CEV
2 Indicators of Weak Faith
When the disciples accused Jesus of not caring, that showed how little they knew of Him. Jesus would soon offer the ultimate proof of His love and concern as He willingly agreed to Calvary. By judging Christ’s love by what He allowed them to experience, it made God’s love conditional in their eyes upon favorable/unfavorable circumstances. Little faith coincides with fickle love.
Facing tough times while resisting the urge to criticize God is challenging. Believe me, I can relate to the disciples. It’s hard not to see Him as “napping at the helm” while we are panicking. But as we grow in our faith, we begin to process life with all its various storms differently.
We are able to trust that one of two things will ALWAYS happen when storms come our way- either we will witness His supremacy as He calms the storm or we will experience His sufficiency as He calms us through it.
Little faith expects little storms with the Christian faith. Great faith expects greater grace through the raging storms!Great faith expects greater grace through the raging storms in life. Click To Tweet
When the disciples assumed that they would drown, they again showed how little they knew of Him. At this point in His ministry, He had already revealed miraculous signs. Not only did the disciples doubt His willingness to help them, they doubted His ability. Little faith forgets what God has already done for them and doubts what God will do for them today or in the future.
Training for greater faith
Our takeaway from examining what made Jesus rebuke the disciples for their lack of faith comes down to believing that He is willing and able to perform what is in accordance with His will. If He does not reveal His supremacy through miraculous intervention in our storm, He will most certainly display His power through the sufficiency we need to ride out the storm as He is by our side.
I may have experienced heartache as my child suffered intensely, but I will tell you now in hindsight after 3 years, I trust God’s purpose in it and the work He did through it.
Miracles did take place back then, it just wasn’t in the way we were expecting. Calming a raging heart can be just as powerful as calming a raging sea.Calming a raging heart can be just as powerful as calming a raging sea. Click To Tweet