Text: Matthew 8:23-27
“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.” —Matthew 8:26
Some years ago, a ship was making this transatlantic voyage from Liverpool to New York. On one particular night, at a time when most of the passengers were asleep, the ship was hit by a “mega” Atlantic storm. The wind and the waves were so violent they actually tipped the ship almost on its side. Down below, a little girl was among many passengers who were thrown out of their beds. But there was one thing different about this particular passenger. Her daddy was the captain. While she was all bleary eyed, she asked her mom the only thing she really wanted to know about the situation, “Is daddy on deck?” Her mom said, “Well yes he is, honey.” The little girl’s response was right to the point, “Then I’m going back to bed.”
In Matthew 8, Jesus and his disciples find themselves in a violent storm. The Sea of Galilee is well known for its sudden, vicious storms. The severity of this storm was evident in the fact that the disciples (many were experienced fishermen on this lake) were terrified, crying out “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” Because Jesus had been sleeping during the tempest they took him for being unaware of the crisis in the moment. Isn’t that so… us? Too often we think that God doesn’t get the gravity of our circumstances, the depth of our need, or the urgency of our distress. We think He is sleeping on us! So we conjure up bigger, more impressive words in our prayer talk to try and persuade Jesus to see it our way. But the problem lay not in the perception of Jesus, but in our perception—we don’t see things God’s way.
You see, faith is acknowledging the total authority of Jesus over this situation. That’s what the disciples could not do in their storm. The grammar of the phrase “But He was asleep” conveys a dramatic contrast; the storm raged, the disciples panicked, but He was asleep. They acted as if Jesus didn’t have authority over the storm, but He did! He spoke to it like a parent would speak to a child… and “it was calm.”
Then they marveled.
Jesus rebuked their fear and unbelief, not their request or waking Him. We shouldn’t think that Jesus was in a bad mood from being awakened. He was upset at their fear, because fear and unbelief go together. When we trust God as we should trust Him, there is little room left for fear.
So many of our faith tensions come down to WHO we believe has the final authority in a given situation. Will the company decide it? The economy? Is this disease going to have the final word? Your spouse? Your kids? Your feelings? Or is everything in this situation totally under the authority of your Savior, Jesus Christ?
If your faith rests in the authority of Christ, then you can make that your bottom line and the panic is over. The peace that defies logic is kicking in. There’s an unexplainable sense of “it is well with my soul” and a calm that comes when you settle where the final authority is in your situation. And the shield of faith will extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one, because Satan cannot touch something that you’ve completely given to Jesus.
Like that little girl blown around by a dangerous storm, all you need to know is if your Father is on deck. Because there’s nothing He can’t handle, you can rest in peace. Think about that as you seek to abide in Him this week.
Father, thank you for peace in this storm. Your authority will have the final word in every situation. I will not let the wind and the waves dictate my feelings—I trust You! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Questions for Reflection, Small Group or Family Discussion:
- When was the last time you were speechless?
- How do you typically react when circumstances get out of control?
- What surprise did the boaters encounter in this scene? (Matthew 8:24)
- How did Jesus reply to the disciples’ expression of fear? (8:26)
- This week, what specific ways can you demonstrate your belief that Jesus will see you through the storms in your life?
Subscribe to “Abiding In Him” and get the latest devotional in your Inbox once a week.