Waking Him was their only option. At least, the only one they could see.
The boat heaved violently as did their emotions. They were wet, weary, and worried as waves broke over the bow. The furious storm threatened their lives. Their worry reflected in the eyes of the others. They were in serious danger. Jesus slept.
“Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Our Lord got up, rebuked the wind and quieted the waves before turning His attention to His fearful, faithless disciples.
“Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
He answered their question with two of His own. They were at once probing and heavy. “Why?” and “Still” thundered in their ears and mine.
Where is my faith? Why am I so afraid?
The storms we live in are just as real even if we don’t end up with soaked clothes. In a pandemic we are tossed by a lost job, a lost loved one, a lost normal. In the face of such storms our fears rise like the tide while faith evaporates.
When’s the last time you were caught in a storm wondering why Jesus wasn’t helping?
In storms our clichés don’t help at all. Yes, God is with me. Yes, He is big and my problems are small. And yes, faith does drive out fear, but right now I’m afraid and Jesus seems to be snoozing. Waking Him feels like the only option.
Teacher, don’t you care if…?
He responds to us as He did to them; without taking offense to our offensive question. Instead of responding to our insistence for help, he invites us to return to faith. It’s spoken plainly, there’s no intent to cut or shame. His robust faith entices us to develop the ability to rest in the midst of the storm, to become like Him.
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But what does it look like to build our faith?
Before we can build it, we need understand it. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what isn’t seen (Hebrews 11:1). It is a gift from God given to every disciple (Eph. 2:8-9). It’s given in different amounts to each disciple (Romans 12:3). It is the foundation for both pleasing God (Hebrews 11:6) and fruit bearing (1 Peter 1:5-8). It is powerful, as just a little bit can move a mountain (Matt. 17:20) Finally, it is to be the framework through which a disciple lives (2 Cor. 5:7).
Faith is extremely important in the life of a disciple. God allows us to grow our faith as we abide in Him. There are three primary ways to do that.
1. Hearing the Message
Faith grows as we immerse ourselves in the Word. Romans 10:17 makes this clear. It says, “Consequently faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ.” In Jesus, the Word became flesh. As we take the time to listen to the Word, it gets to the core of us and draws out thoughts and attitudes that are both pleasing and displeasing to God (Heb. 4:12). Hearing the message of Christ helps us develop new lenses through which to see the world.
2. Believing the Message
The enemy of faith is doubt. When we intentionally exercise intentional belief in the message, our ability to believe grows. In other words, just as Spirit gives birth to spirit, faith gives birth to more faith (John 3:6). When we believe, like Abraham, that God has the power to do what He has promised (Rom. 4:20-21), our faith grows. The more we believe the message, the more of the message we are able to believe.
3. Living the Message
The final step of growing our faith is living it out. Indeed, the reason we have faith is so that we can live by faith. Scripture says that the righteous will live by faith and not shrink back (Hebrews 10:38). And it’s tempting to shrink back. To recoil from that which threatens our safety and to call out to Jesus to help us maintain the status quo. Yet the disciple must press forward to live by faith. It’s not enough to hear and believe, we must also live it out.
Disciples who take seriously the call to grow our faith find the ability to rest in the peace that Jesus offers and models. As they live into their faith, their lives hold an almost indescribable quality of expectancy. They neither live for God or work for Him, instead they dwell with Him and work with Him.
Our storms are an invitation to faith; an invitation to discover the peace that our Savior models in His rest. The faith that’s developed in the darkness, shines in the new day as we ask God to move mountains so the Kingdom can take root in a city, a neighborhood, and most often the heart of a loved one.
By Justin Gravitt. Used by permission.