Do I, too, need to hear Jesus' probing question to his disciples regarding their faith?
22 One day Jesus said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side of the lake." So they got into a boat and set out. 23 As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger.
24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!"
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 "Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples.
In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."
The crashing waves spilled water into the boat. The high winds threatened to tear away the sails. Then, 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 coming down at the end of a play.
In that eerie stillness, the Man turned to the others in the boat and 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, sometimes want to demand of those 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. Those miracles hadn't yet occurred for the men in the boat that day. We know of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. His disciples didn't yet. Even so, Jesus seemed to think they had seen and experienced enough already. So, without hesitation, He asked them: "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 that cause us to be surprised.
Yet, aren't there times when this Lord of nature, this mighty Healer, this Master over demonic power must 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 home for the pastoral family to live in. 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 what was then a hundred-year-old short 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.
-- Howard Culbertson,
I wrote these devotional thoughts while Barbara and I were serving as missionaries in Italy. This article was published in The Standard, a weekly Faith Connections take-home curriculum piece for adult Sunday school classes produced by The Foundry.