My first post of 2022 was “Hope for the New Year: Part One.” Part two never came. In fact, it took over a year for me to write again. Last year truly felt like being in a tiny boat in the middle of a raging sea trying to survive one giant wave after another as my skiff filled with water. I felt like all my bailing was just forestalling the inevitable moment when my boat slipped permanently beneath the tumult, taking all hope with it. Worse yet, slipping beneath the waves didn’t seem like such a bad idea?!
After ministering to the crowds, Jesus and the disciples got in their boat and set sail. Storms on the sea of Galilee can come out of nowhere and violently change the calm waters into a roiling tumult. The disciples found themselves in one of these dread-full storms. Many disciples were fishermen by trade and veterans of the sea. Storms were something they faced year in and year out. This must have been a killer storm because they completely melted down. They become so panicked that they woke Jesus up and accused Him of not caring that they were about to die!
Jesus’ response was “Why are you afraid you men of little faith?” Jesus rebuked the storm and a “perfect peacefulness” came over the sea. The disciple’s response? “What kind of man is this that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matt 8:23-27)
Why did Jesus call the disciples ‘men of little faith’? Was it because they were afraid? Or was it because they didn’t rebuke the wind and the waves themselves? I dont think so. I think the real reason was because they didn’t turn to or trust Jesus for help in the first place. I can almost hear Jesus saying ‘Guys I was right here in the boat with you. When things got rough, all you had to do was wake me up and ask for help. Instead, you panicked and accused me of not caring. Do you know me at all?’ Whatever Jesus may have been thinking in that moment, it’s pretty clear that the disciples didn’t really know their traveling companion.
As I have looked over the events of last year, it has occurred to me that the storms weren’t my real problem. Like the disciples, my REAL problem was I didn’t fully know or trust the One with whom I travel. Would I need to be in a state of hypervigilance and panic if I recognized that Jesus is ALWAYS in my boat with me? If I truly understood the magnitude of His power to calm the storm and preserve my life would anxiety have drug me to the depths? If I rested secure in His love for me would the possibility of slipping beneath the waves even be an option? What would my seas look like if I recognized and truly trusted that all I have to do is ask Jesus to speak to the storm?
Just before He went to the cross, Jesus promised the disciples that though He was going away He would send a comforter, a companion, who would remain with and in us forever (John 14:16-17). On another occasion Jesus promises that He and the Father will make Their dwelling place in us (John 14:23). God is ALWAYS with us. Regardless of the storms raging around and over us, we need to know Who we are traveling with. We need to trust His presence and ask Him to release His power into our situation.
Being people of faith doesn’t mean we don’t experience fear in the storms. It sure doesn’t mean we take them on ourselves (see “Redefining Strength: Building on Solid Ground). Being people of faith means really getting to KNOW the One we are traveling with on an intimate basis. It means spending time in His presence, drinking in every word that He speaks. It means listening in the depths of our souls for that still small voice. It means recognizing Jesus is ALWAYS in the boat with us. He is ALWAYS willing and able to address the circumstances we are facing. Being people of faith means ASKING FOR HIS HELP and TRUSTING Him to act on our behalf. Knowing our traveling companion is the true foundation of unwavering, unbreakable hope.
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