“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” ~ Matthew 8:23-27
We read the account of Jesus directing the disciples to cross over the lake after several displays of his healing power and teaching ability. In the NIV we are told that without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. Within minutes the focus of the seasoned fishermen sailing the boats turns from obedience to the Messiah’s direction, to survival of their drastic circumstances. “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
I grew up with blizzards in Colorado, experienced the effects of tornado warnings in Oklahoma, and even lived through a hurricane and typhoon in my international travels. In all those situations I had some warning that a storm was on the way and could make proper preparations. When a storm without warning envelops our life, it comes fast, and furious. It blind sides us and we have no time to prepare. Precautions cannot be taken because there is only time to react for survival. Extra rations, preservation of valuables, damage control, a well planned escape route with a timeline are not options. Life is out of control as the elements manage us, survival instincts kick in and escape becomes our singular focus, rescue our only hope.
So it was with the disciples. The knowledge of his healing power in the lives of others was not even on their mental radar. Their emotions had turned their thinking to one dire and desperate conclusion- we are going to drown…we are going to die. Could Jesus save us? To which he replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” After reproving them, he rebuked the wind and waves, and all was calm. And as order was restored, the disciples saw a whole new dynamic of the Savior they had yet to experience. The omnipotence of His power and authority over nature, an attribute they would need to cling in the years to come to fulfill their mission.
Beyond the physical elements of the weather, there are the emotional and spiritual storms of life. In those storms without warnings, I totally see myself in the response of the disciples. The storm without warning reveals the limited views I have of our Lord and Savior. The unexpected trial always exposes where I have been relying in my areas of strength rather than resting in His presence. It surfaces the fears in my life that override my faith in Him. It spotlights my deficiencies in such a way that they have to be confronted. Yet as I weather through them, I can experience the person and the power of my Lord and Savior in a way that was only head knowledge before. I gain the truth that sets me free to know Him more intimately and to move on in His mission.
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