Wow. I am so with Miriam!!! I didn't comment on your post, Miriam, because my post will be the comment! I am very much feeling like you are feeling...am I doing what God wants me to do?? Does God want me to do more? Does God want me to do anything????
And I know that my thoughts are along the same path as Miriam's...different situation, very similar thought pattern. Lately, I have been so very wrapped up in something that I want...that I have dreamed of since I was just a little girl...something that only God can give me...that I have started to be a bit...well... I guess it could be called manipulative. I get so angry that I have to wait, that the answer might be "no", that I don't even want to look at or touch my Bible; I don't want to see another devotional, hear another person say, "just have faith"...but then I think, maybe if I prayed more, read more, sang more, served more. Maybe then I would know blessing like so many others around me...maybe then...
God doesn't work that way. No matter how often I oscillate between fear and faith, God doesn't change. He knows my heart. He knows my needs. Most importantly of all, He knows what is best for me.
And I am so glad that I am in such good company, including the disciples of the Scripture for today!
Today's passage comes from Luke 8:22-25 and reads as follows:
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.
Jesus was travelling around healing, teaching, loving, forgiving and proclaiming the good news and decides it is time to cross the Sea of Galilee, a lake surrounded by hills and valleys and mountains that occasionally create a wind tunnel. These effects can churn up the Sea into a raging monster in very little time, very daunting to a boat that, according to archeological finds, would be about 26 feet by 7 feet (pictures and more info can be found at the Jesus Boat museum site). This is no "ship"; it is a working man's boat with enough room for nets, a few fisherman and the catch of the day...and sides low enough to haul in nets heavy with fish.
Jesus, sleeping, was unconcerned about the spray, the waves, the wind, tossing the boat and tormenting his companions, many of whom were seasoned sailors. If the storm was terrifying even those familiar with the ways of the Sea, how much more terrifying for those who were "landlubbers", so to speak? Did you also catch the words: "and they were in great danger"? The author of this book may not be known for his boating skills, but he is known for his keen observations...and he did not say that they thought that they were in great danger...but that they were in great danger.
The storm is raging and it is real. Lives could be lost, limbs maimed. Hearts despairing, they did the only thing they could think of to do (or maybe they just thought Jesus should know that they were going to die)...they woke Jesus up. Defeated, they tell Him, "we're going to drown".
Defeat, panic, misery, doubt...common enough among people in dangerous times...yet these men had seen "the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is preached to the poor." (Luke 7:22).
Should they have been shocked that Jesus would get up and rebuke the wind, calm the storm?
I find it interesting that Jesus waited until they came to him in desperation. These men would have tried every trick that they knew to keep that boat afloat before appealing to the one who created the wind and the waters...the One who knows every trick to keep the boat afloat from a completely different angle.
Jesus had every right to ask them, "Where is your faith?"
Just as He has every right to ask the same of me...of us. Can we be strong enough to approach Jesus for His angle on our problems before we become desperate? Maybe strong is not the right word...humble...wise. Can we give up striving on our own to leave our troubles, our desires, our hopes and dreams in His far more capable hands?...is it possible to let go of all that we fear and choose to have faith that God actually knows what He is doing?
He is a God for whom nothing is impossible and He knows and cares about our every need. May we lay down our fears and choose faith.
May we choose to walk hand in hand with Him instead of battling our storms on our own.
..."where is your faith?"
So true Roxie. Especially because our life's storms come as no surprise to Him. Sometimes He causes them - sometimes to chasten us (Jonah, anyone?!), sometimes to strengthen our faith. And sometimes it just a result of our fallen world, but again God uses it to strengthen our faith.
I loved MacArthur's explanation of the amazingness of that particular lake - no other lake in the world has been studied as much. It's the lowest lake in the world. And with its surrounding geography, it's susceptible to extremely sudden hurricane or tornado force gales. Who can control the weather? No one obviously. Except God himself.
You can just imagine that fear. First the fear of death from the storm.
And then the fear once you realize that God Himself is in your boat! The awe inspiring fear of that is mind boggling.
And yet, that immense power is coupled with incredible compassion and gentleness.
MacArthur also notes that this is the first miracle that truly impacts the disciples on a personal level. Yes, there was the miracle of the fishing catch - but this miracle saved their lives.
Great post, Roxie. It's so easy for us to resort to "He just doesn't care" (both with God and with other people) when things aren't going the way we want. The truth is, of course, that God absolutely does care, more than anyone else possibly could, but trusting and having faith that ultimately the things He gives us (or doesn't) are truly what is best for us can be so difficult.
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