Saturday, August 16, 2008

Matthew 8:23-27 "Draw Near in the Storm"

Read Matthew 8:23-27.

“’You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’” NIV

So is this passage to teach us that if we keep our faith in Jesus, we can weather the storms of life? Or does it once again establish His position as the divine and the authority over nature? Maybe it’s a combination of both, and it’s amazing God’s timing – that this passage should fall today because I really need it.

How often “without warning” do the storms of life hit us? The storms may be new trials or just old stuff that creeps up into our conscience and freaks us out once again. We cry out to God, What should we do?! Most of the time we do not get that audible answer we so desire. Then we huddle in the corner in fear and confusion. So if I have faith in Christ, why doesn’t He just take the storms away when I cry out? He did for the disciples? But maybe that wasn’t the lesson to be learned….

Here’s a different twist -- what if the disciples hadn’t awakened Jesus? No one would have rebuked the wind or told the waves to calm down. The storm would have raged on, and Jesus would have kept right on napping. Would the boat have capsized? Would it have crashed on the rocks, and the entire group drown? Of course not, that would have not fit God’s plan and certainly would have cut Jesus’ ministry much too short without Him accomplishing His purpose.
Therefore, when Jesus tells the disciples that they have “little faith,” I don’t believe it’s because he wanted them to command the storm to die down themselves and because they didn’t have the faith to do that, the storm continued. He follows it with, “…why are you so afraid?” So isn’t He teaching them that they don’t need faith to make the storm go away, but faith to ride through it without fear? And with Jesus right there with them, their safety was guaranteed. When He actually commanded the storm to stop, He was simply showing them that as God, He did have the power at any time to make it stop.

So what does that mean for us?

  • With Jesus near and my faith firmly established in Him, I can ride out any storm that comes my way.
  • The Almighty can make that storm go away any time He wants.

    I can whine and cry and beg Him to take away the trials I may be facing, but they are going nowhere until He decides it will happen. They are in my life for a purpose – either a consequence of my own making and/or to teach me a lesson I evidently need to learn. Either way, my job is to ride out the trials while sticking as close to my Lord as possible, trusting Him, and doing so without any fear.

    The other side of the coin is that maybe the storm is happening because it needs to happen right now. Maybe it’s not a storm at all, it’s just rain nourishing the earth and because I chose to get into a boat at that time, it appears that I am in danger of capsizing. Maybe the Lord even told me to get into the boat. It doesn’t matter; I still need to have faith in Him and His provision for my life. He is trustworthy, and He will see me through any storms that I am in. I obey faithfully; He provides faithfully. Pretty simple equation; tough to live out.

    Lord, forgive me when I take my eyes off of You to tremble at the sight of the storm. I will not be afraid. You are my Jehovah-Jireh and provide for my every need.

    Further Thoughts:
  1. Look up all the Scriptures with the word “afraid” in them. What do they teach us?
  2. There are so many more Scriptures with the word “faith” than “afraid.” Look up the definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 and memorize it. In fact, read all of Hebrews 11.
  3. Sometimes life seems like storms because we are not spending enough, or any, quiet time alone with our Lord. Set aside some time each day to listen to Him and reflect on who He is and what He is saying to you. I think the early morning or the late evening are the best. The world is less chaotic, and I can listen closer.
  4. What storm are you facing right now? Specifically define it. Did you cause it? Is there a lesson you are to learn from it? Or is it just raining? Maybe you need to define your boat, too. No matter what, don’t be afraid, just stay near to Jesus.
  5. If it’s just raining, did you get in a boat? Did God tell you to get in that boat or did you decide on your own? To obey God, you must have faith that you are right where you belong. He will show you how to handle the storm, or He will take it away. Trust Him.

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