Fear can do bad things. For sure, it can cause faith to melt. Mark 4:35-41 recounts an incident on the Sea of Galilee when Jesus’ disciples felt like their faith was quickly evaporating. They thought they were going to drown. Several of them were experienced fishermen, so their concerns were valid. The storm threatened to take their lives.
These same men had been eyewitnesses to awesome miracles Jesus had performed—healed the sick, cast demons out, and even raised the dead. This evening, however, was different. They were the ones in trouble. They needed Jesus to bail them out.
Ironically, Jesus wasn’t someplace else. He was right there with them in the boat. But He wasn’t terrified by the storm—He was in the back of the boat somehow still sleeping.
Understandably, the disciples woke Jesus up and voiced their obvious irritation that Jesus had been sleeping while the stormed threatened to take their lives. “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
Let’s pause for a moment. Have you had an experience, perhaps even life-threatening, when you wondered if God cared what happened to you? Most of us have. Even if the situation didn’t present itself as a life-or-death issue, it was important to you and God didn’t seem to be present. Times like this test our faith to the limit and it may feel like we flunked the exam.
Back to our story. God’s presence wasn’t in question for the disciples. Jesus was in the boat with them, but He hadn’t done anything to help the situation. He was asleep!
Now awake, Jesus spoke and quieted the storm. The danger was gone. But Jesus had a question for his disciples: “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
What’s the lesson here? Jesus quickly answered the disciples’ question. Not only did He care about them, but He had the power and authority to do to act. And not just this time. Time and again throughout the Gospels Jesus responded to the cries of desperate people. He cared, He acted, and needs were met. Notice that on this occasion, it wasn’t faith that saved them. It was Jesus. He cared and acted.
Reflect for a few moments about your life. Think about the times when you felt helpless and needed the Lord to intervene? Even if you didn’t sense His Presence, didn’t He intervene to rescue you? Even if your faith seemed to melt, didn’t the Lord show up to take care of you?
You can make future application as you face difficult trials in the future. Remember that God never slumbers or sleeps. He is acutely aware of your circumstances and will act when the time is right. It may not happen in the way you expect, but He will respond. He always cares.
One final comment is in order. God is the same—always. That means He is faithful even when we are not. In the case of disciples on the Sea of Galilee, their faith flunked the test. Your faith will fail at times as well. But fear not. God’s love for you is constant. He will remain faithful!
“If we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.”
2 Timothy 2:13 – NIV