It was a fisherman’s worst nightmare. The Sea of Galilee was notorious for being calm and serene one minute, and a deathtrap the next for unfortunate souls who happened to be out working the nets. It is hard to say which was worse, being caught by a gale while dragging the nets at night, or being fully able to see the force of the waves during a mid-day boat-ride across the enormous lake. It took so little time for the waves to become white-capped and dangerous, that at the first sign of fierce winds descending on the lake, the men became afraid for their lives. And this teacher… this man of miracles whom they had been following so faithfully… was sleeping. Of course, their first instinct was to make Him aware of what was going on. “We’re dying! Master! Master WAKE UP!”
They had heard His teaching concerning the kingdom of God. They had listened to His parables about hearing His words and letting them take root. All of that was fine and good, but none of it mattered right now – they were about to sink to the bottom of the Sea of Galilee.
As I read this account in Luke 8:22-25, the scene is so vivid. I can picture the fear on their faces – these men knew the danger they were in. It was the occupational hazard of a fisherman, and they wouldn’t be the first to be overtaken by the elements in this unpredictable body of water. As I imagine their futile efforts to keep water out of the boat while being what was described as “swamped,” I can identify with their panic.
Too many times in my life I have had the same hopelessness settle into my gut as the waves of unexpected trials bash into my boat, one after another… after another… In what seems like broad daylight I can see them tower higher and higher over me, and I’m helpless to prevent it from washing over me. Maybe it’s a financial issue that seems to get bigger and not smaller. Perhaps a relationship seems to be spiral down into the dirt, or family problems are shaking my stability and my faith. But that’s the real question, isn’t it?
Jesus looks at His disciples, after standing up and rebuking that which threatened them, and asks them a question…
“Where is your faith?”
What I realize, is that – through the pen of Luke – He is looking beyond His disciples, right into my own eyes and heart, and asking the same question. I’ve already read about the physical ailments He cured with a touch. I remember the ease with which He answered very difficult life-related questions and spiritual issues. He demands that I take what I have learned from Him and allow it to take root in my heart by acting on His instructions. Now, He demonstrates His authority to give such commands by taking my deepest fears and speaking them out of existence. His eyes pierce my soul after such a powerful demonstration, asking if I believe He can do such things – or if I’m worried for “my life” because the trials seem bigger and stronger than His words.
So where is your faith? Sometimes it feels like God isn’t aware of what we’re going through – like our boat is nearly capsized and He’s just sleeping! But His Word is enough to calm the storm and He’s waiting to come to your aid. Which storm are you sailing through? Whatever it is, instead of frantically trying to bail out the boat, approach the Master to ask for His help. You may be helpless to save yourself, but believe me… He can handle it!
By Keeley Rollert
Keeley and her husband David are current students at the Bear Valley Bible Institute of Denver. They are planning to graduate later this year and then go on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa. Find other great posts on her blog.