As Jesus got into a boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but he was asleep. They came and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was great calm. The men were amazed and said, “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Matthew 8:23-27)
There is not one of us who has not faced major storms in our life. How we weather those storms is a test of our faith and how we live our lives.
In today’s Gospel, it wasn’t the waves that woke Jesus but rather the cries of his disciples. He wasn’t upset because they woke him. What upset Jesus was their weak faith. They had no trouble believing in Jesus when the sun was out and the lake was calm. But their poverty of faith led them to not trust in him enough to know that he would take care of them even in face of a violent, life-threatening, storm.
Fear is part of all of us. We are fragile creatures at the mercy of the elements. We think that we are in control and we do everything we can to maintain the illusion of coping and managing our circumstances. But there are times when we panic, when we can no longer cope, when we feel that we are drowning. We come to the end of ourselves and we cry out: “Lord, save us!”
You can have faith as little as a mustard seed, but it can accomplish great things if you are willing to use it in moments of danger. Consider the storm in your life, whatever it is: physical, emotional, financial, or relational; whatever the difficulty is that you face, how can you exercise the faith that you have, whether little or great? Too often, the tendency is to worry about everything that has brought us to this point. We blame ourselves for not taking better care of ourselves or those we love or we review all the poor decisions that we or our loved ones have made. We focus on ourselves and our earthly circumstances. When we do that, we are feeding our fears. This is the opposite of faith. We are not looking to the greatness of God and his provision for our life. We are acting as though it all depends on us, and that we have to take care of everything. The waves are sweeping over our boat and we fear we are going to drown. But we are not alone. Jesus is always in the boat with us.
Faith is trust in a great God and dependence on a loving and caring God. Faith is a personal relationship with God who has revealed himself to us in Jesus. Faith is the realization that the Lord is with us always. Faith is believing that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. Faith is believing that Jesus can calm the storm. Even the winds and the waves obey Jesus. He is the Lord of nature. There is no storm that is beyond his control. He is with us in the storm, through the storm and after the storm. He has experienced the pain of betrayal, the pain of physical suffering, the pain of bearing the sins of the world, the pain of aloneness, the despair of rejection, the terrors of hell. There is no depth he has not plunged. When we think that we are sinking we must believe that he is underneath us to hold us up .“Underneath are the everlasting arms” (Deut.33:27). When storms arise in our lives and fears chill our hearts Jesus is there to preserve us. We have to trust that he will bring us through to safety.
Whenever we encounter trouble, the Lord is there with the same reassuring message: “It is I, do not be afraid”.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord, may I always recognize your abiding presence with me. And in times of trouble or fear may I find courage and strength to respond as you would. Help me to rely upon you in all circumstances and to trust in your help both in adversity and in temptation”.
I am always likely to face storms as I move on in the small boat of my life. These storms test my faith. The lesser the faith, the greater the fear. This miracle of Jesus indicates that he can calm the storms in me. I cannot expect the sea to be calm always, but I can ask Jesus to calm the storms always: the storms within and the storms without. So, whenever I find myself doubting how far I can go, Jesus insists me to look back and remember how far I have come. I remember all the battles I have won and all the fears I have overcome with his constant help.