Matthew 8:23-27

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he 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. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

Coming to this point in my study of Matthew I am seeing so much of myself in the lives of the disciples. I too have been called by Jesus and strive to follow him in obedience. But what I see in this passage is my faith and my fear. Fear, not as in reverent acknowledgement of God’s power and sovereignty, but fear as in being shaken at my core by external and internal situations and thoughts that tempt me not to trust in my mighty savior. I love how Jesus is “slumbering peacefully” in the midst of the great storm. He was asleep, the storm did not wake him, he was resting soundly in his father’s hands, he was not shaken or afraid, he was asleep…and this was not unloving. This was a picture of trust. Jesus knew his time had not yet come to die. He was tired from weighty ministry, grabbed a cushion(Mark’s account) and went to sleep. But it is not just his sleeping in a storm that displays his trust, it is that when the disciples wake him up…..the great storm was not able to wake him…..but the cries of his people did……he saw the storm and was not moved by fear. He remained calm and actually talked to the disciples about faith before turning to the massive storm and telling it to hush up. I see Jesus doing this with me. My heart is fearful at times due to being out of control of things, wanting everything to be at peace. While peace is a good thing to want for my life, my family and ministry….not trusting in Jesus to bring it is unbelief. I see myself in this passage because during the storms I often do have little faith….and that seems good, even Biblical….but my fear seems to be bigger….my trust is small and my anxiety is big. At the root is lack of trust, lack of seeing the magnificent reign of God over my life for his glory, lack of believing that no storm is out of God’s control….or to say it another way that God is in control of the storms. This is where being must over-ride doing. During these storms of my heart and life I do not need to turn to things, activities, and stress management to provide what only the Spirit can…peace. I must see that I too am a child of God and rest in great faith like Jesus did. The maker of the blazing sun and super strong ant is my father. He holds me. He has my whole world in his hands. I can rest. I can breathe. I can have peace. Lord, help me in my unbelief! Jesus, I know the answer to the disciples question…you are God.

God moves in a mysterious way

His wonders to perform;

He plants his footsteps in the sea

And rides upon the storm.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;

The clouds ye so much dread

Are big with mercy and shall break

In blessings on your head. -William Cowper

 

No water can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean, and earth, and skies. Boice

 

The tense used in the original pictures Jesus slumbering peacefully….it was not difficult for him to fall into a deep sleep, for his trust in the heavenly Father-his own Father-was unfaltering. Hendriksen

While the tempest was still raging and the boat being tossed to and fro by the billows, “majestic calmness” sat enthroned upon Christ’s brow. It was in the thick of all the confusion that he asked the disciples why they were frightened. Hendriksen

 

In the boat with Jesus is a happy place, but storms may come even when we are there. Spurgeon

Yet the presence of our great Lord will not prevent our being tossed by ‘a great tempest.’ Spurgeon

Little faith prayed, ‘Save us’; much fear cried, ‘We perish.’ Spurgeon

 

How many have faith and love enough to forsake all for Christ’s sake, and to follow him wherever he goes, and yet are full of fears in the hour of trial! How many have grace enough to turn to Jesus in every trouble, crying, “Lord save us,” and yet not grace enough to lie still and believe in the darkest hour that all is well! Ryle

I Have Fear.
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