Luke 8:22-25 (CEV)
22 One day, Jesus and his disciples got into a boat, and he said, “Let’s cross the lake.” They started out, 23 and while they were sailing across, he went to sleep.
Suddenly a windstorm struck the lake, and the boat started sinking. They were in danger. 24 So they went to Jesus and woke him up, “Master, Master! We are about to drown!”
Jesus got up and ordered the wind and waves to stop. They obeyed, and everything was calm. 25 Then Jesus asked the disciples, “Don’t you have any faith?”
But they were frightened and amazed. They said to each other, “Who is this? He can give orders to the wind and the waves, and they obey him!”
A Bigger Faith
Some days the things that I’m concerned or worried about are small things. Will I have time to get dinner made between driving one kid home from after school practices and the other off to an evening obligation? How do I get enough nutrients into my picky eater? What do I do the next time I’m in a situation with that complicated friend or relative?
Some days the things that I’m concerned or worried about are bigger things. Will the money run out before the end of the month? Will the tests the doctor ran last week turn up something bad? Or what if, worse yet, they don’t turn up any explanation at all? Then what?
But the disciples aren’t worried that they’re going to drown – they are actually drowning!
And the disciples do the very thing I was always taught to do when I was afraid – they go and wake Jesus.
From where I’m standing that’s a pretty great response. That seems like a lot of faith.
And yet after Jesus gets up and tells the wind and waves off as if they were recalcitrant toddlers he turns to them and asks them if they have any faith …
Didn’t they do the faith thing by waking Jesus up? Wasn’t that enough?!?
I don’t have an answer to this one yet, folks, but I have a few thoughts on it. It seems that somehow the level of faith that Jesus is calling us to is way bigger than I would have expected or imagined, it seems that somehow it’s something that’s possible for people to achieve, but it also doesn’t seem to hold any guarantees of things ‘working out’ the way we want them to.
Here’s my evidence:
Of the disciples in the boat that day, the records we have indicate that Peter, Andrew and Simon the Zealot were both crucified; James was beheaded; Philip was hung; Matthew and Thaddeus died as martyrs; Thomas was killed with a spear; the other James was sawed in pieces; and Judas Iscariot hung himself. Of all of the disciples, only John lived to a natural death, although he spent many years in exile.
All but one of the disciples somehow found in Jesus an ability to trust way deeper and way more fully than they could that night on the boat. Somehow by becoming deeply connected to Jesus throughout his life, then bearing witness to Jesus after his death and resurrection, and finally receiving the Holy Spirit, these scared, worried guys became men of deep faith. In the end, that faith was big enough to trust that God was in control of even when and where they lived, how much time they spent in prison and how they died.
This isn’t a “say your prayers and then worry” kind of faith.
This isn’t a “sit back and do nothing” kind of faith, either.
This is a “connect deeply with God and then roll up your sleeves and do the right thing without worrying about what people will think (or consequently do to you)” kind of faith.
I don’t know about you, but I still have a ways to go before I get to this kind of faith.
But I know I wouldn’t mind living like this.
- What are some of the things that you worry about on a daily basis?
- How do you usually think of faith in terms of these concerns?
- What do you think of Jesus response to the disciples?
- What do you think it would mean to have a “connect deeply with God and then roll up your sleeves and do the right thing without worrying about what people will think (or consequently do to you)” kind of faith?
- What would you have to do to get there?