Week 7 (February)
The crashing waves spilled water into the boat. The high winds threatened to tear away the sails. Then suddenly a Man stood up in the bow of that fishing boat and ordered the storm to cease.
Ordered? What a puny gesture that must have seemed to the rest of the men in the boat. They were experienced seamen working desperately to stay afloat. They sensed how much at the mercy of that storm they were.
But scarcely had the orders left that Man's mouth when the storm ended like a curtain dropping at the end of a play.
In that eerie stillness, the Man turned to the others in the boat and quietly asked: Where is your faith?
He asked is, and not was, for even at that moment some of the men were whispering to each other: What manner of man is this?
We, too, want to demand of these men: "Where was and is your faith?" After all, they'd been with Jesus for some time now. They'd seen something of His extraordinary, supernatural abilities, power and wisdom.
Yet I'm afraid that far too often we're as guilty as they were in being afraid of perishing in the storms and problems of life.
We know of Jesus' power over the devils of Gadarea, of how a woman touched only His garment and yet was healed. For the men in the boat that day those miracles hadn't yet occurred. We know of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. His disciples didn't yet. But Jesus taught they had seen and experienced enough already. He asked them without hesitation: "Where is your faith?"
From our perspective, we should expect His miracle-working presence and power today. Through His Holy Spirit, Jesus continues to do things which cause us to be surprised at His goodness.
Yet there are times when this Lord of nature, this mighty Healer, this Master over demonic power must quietly ask even us: "Where is your faith?"
The Holy Spirit once used a youth group president to put that question to me.
We were in a church board meeting grappling with having to pay the interest on a short-term loan. A few months before, the little congregation had taken a giant leap of faith in purchasing a parsonage. Now, in the storms of life, Satan was making that decision look like a foolhardy one.
In a moment of quiet, we all sat looking at the floor. Then Nita Alderson said firmly: "I believe the Lord would have us pay off the whole loan this year."
I began to think of all the reasons why our little church couldn't do that. We didn't even have the money to pay the interest! Then I heard a quiet little voice inside me asking, "Where is your faith?"
Nita had been more in touch with the Lord than the rest of us. In less than a year that loan had been miraculously paid off.
Jesus is still the miracle-working Christ in the storms and problems of life. Where is your faith? Is it really in Him? The more we trust our lives to Him, the more He'll inspire in us a confidence in God that will banish demoralizing fear from our lives and bring assurance to our souls.
I remember singing a hundred-year-old chorus in Southeastern Oklahoma Nazarene district youth camps. The tabernacle at Robbers' Cave State Park near Wilburton, Oklahoma used to echo with: "I can, I will, I do believe . . ."
I want the affirmation of those short phrases to be the theme of my walk (or boat ride) with Jesus.
I wrote these devotional thoughts while we were missionaries in Italy. They originally appeared in the February 17, 1980 edition of Standard, a take-home piece for adult Sunday school classes.
Howard Culbertson, 5901 NW 81st, Oklahoma City, OK 73132
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