Do you trust Jesus, even in the hard times? He is powerful, good, and worthy of our faith.
“One day, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and started out. As they sailed across, Jesus settled down for a nap. But soon, a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. Suddenly the storm stopped and all was calm. Then he asked them, ‘Where is your faith?’ The disciples were terrified and amazed. ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!’ (Luke 8:22-25, NLT)
If you have been in church a while, then you have probably read or heard this story a few times. It’s a famous one. The image of Jesus peacefully napping in a boat during a raging storm while the disciples are freaking out is one I certainly have imagined many times. However, I have often read and heard this story told in a tone of mockery or rebuke, that Jesus was somehow frustrated or disappointed that these men had emotions and were afraid of an itty-bitty rain cloud. There is so much we can learn from this passage, but here are four lessons from these four simple verses.
Jesus was as human as we are. “Jesus settled down for a nap.” We tend to forget this and focus solely on His Godliness. He is Jesus, after all! We know Him as the miracle worker and the Messiah; He fed the 5000 (closer to 10,000!). He walked on water. He healed the sick and made the lame walk. He was crucified and rose again. But scripture says He was fully God and fully man. Jesus was tired, y’all. He needed rest. Scripture says He understands our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15). He wasn’t ashamed of His human nature; we shouldn’t be either. Think about it: of all the things that Jesus could have been doing during His downtime - strategically planning His next miracle with the disciples, organizing His schedule, or mapping out His next route to maximize time management and ministry efficiency - He took a nap. Jesus was running an extensive and successful ministry - He could have had every excuse to use that opportunity to multitask and make the most of His time. Instead, He didn’t ignore the cues, listened to His body, and rested. Are we following His example? Action Step: Rest like Jesus
The disciples were in real danger. “But soon, a fierce storm came down on the lake. The boat was filling with water, and they were in real danger.” I love that scripture here doesn’t gloss over this. God, in all His compassion and empathy, included this sentence. He notices. He pays attention to the details and doesn’t miss anything. He was in the boat with them because this storm was no joke! The Bible says a fierce storm came down the lake, filling the boat with water. I am no expert, but I have seen enough movies to know that it sounds pretty serious. Unlike me, the disciples were experts - they were experienced fishermen. They had most likely seen a storm or two before in their careers, so they knew they were in trouble when they saw this one approaching. They could tell the difference between a summer storm that would quickly pass and a full forced gale that had the potential to turn their boat upside down, threatening their very lives. Fishermen are skilled at reading the weather. We’re familiar with the phrase, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.” Regardless, the scripture says they were in “real danger.” Don’t miss that. We tend to pass over this phrase in our reading, and it’s something that I have neglected until recently. These guys were in trouble, and they knew it. This storm had the same potential to take them out. Their fear was legitimate. Water was filling the boat, and they were afraid they would drown. Scripture says so. Many times we are rebuked for feeling fear. Our fear often makes the people around us uncomfortable. You will be afraid if you are a human being with a pulse. For some strange reason, we are embarrassed to admit it when we are scared. We feel ashamed of our very human emotions and try to hide them. We should applaud the disciples for acknowledging their fear and going to the right source with their anxiety. They went to Jesus, woke him up, and shouted, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ Action Step: Acknowledge your feelings and allow yourself to feel them.
Jesus rebuked the WIND and the RAGING WAVES, not the disciples. When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and the raging waves. In this passage, Jesus isn’t angry or frustrated with the disciples; they woke him up from a nap, and what is the first thing He does? He calms the storm. When my kids wake me up from a nap, I don’t always have the best response! When rudely awakened, I am not always ready and willing to jump to their bidding! Jesus doesn’t berate them, preach to them, or give them platitudes. Jesus doesn’t mock their emotions. Jesus understands our feelings; He had them and created them in us! We live in a scary, dangerous world. Ask any war veteran or trauma survivor if this is true. Just as Jesus knows our humanity, He knows that we have emotions. We don't have to be embarrassed or ashamed of them. Our feelings are valid, and they matter to Jesus. However, they may not always tell us the truth, and we tend to dismiss them in our very western way of mishandling them, doing ourselves a disservice. I applaud the disciples for knowing who and where to go with their fear. Jesus is the only person to turn to when we are afraid because He is big enough to handle our concerns and has the power to do something about them. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” Notice who wrote that? Peter did. He was in the boat with Jesus during this storm, so he knew and understood this truth firsthand. Action Step: Cast all your fear and anxieties on Jesus.
Fear leads us to the wrong conclusions. ‘Where is your faith?’ When the disciples woke Jesus up and shouted, ‘Master, Master, we’re going to drown!’ We see that they went to the right source but jumped to the wrong conclusion. The feelings are not wrong, but fear often leads us to make terrible decisions if left in the driver’s seat. Jesus didn’t rebuke them, belittle them, or dismiss their fear. He simply asked them a question. Where is your faith? That’s the question for all of us today. Our fears tend to make us jump to the wrong conclusions. Jesus was IN THE BOAT with them! Did they think Jesus would let them drown, drowning along with them? His question isn’t accusatory. It’s a legitimate question. “Where is your faith? Is it in this boat? Is it in the weather, the waves, or the wind calming down? Is it in your own strength or abilities? How fast can you scoop water out of the boat to keep it from sinking? Is it in the perfect conditions? Or is it in Me?” Action Step: Put your faith in Jesus alone
That last action step may sound like a “no duh” statement. But it is easy for us to put our faith in everything else BUT Jesus. Do you trust Me? Do you trust My ability to care for you? Ask yourself, Where is my faith today? Then follow these four action steps daily to practice putting your faith in Jesus where and with Whom it belongs.