Where is your faith?
I spend a great deal of time looking for Jesus. I look for Jesus through the annals of history – I seek to find Him at work not only in the bible, but throughout time. Jesus is alive today, and He sits enthroned in the heavens, actively presiding over His church.
‘Actively presiding’: He plays a constant, current role and is working in His people, in His world right now. This fact can bee seen throughout history – it can be seen now by those who observe it.
The first major objection to this reality is the prevalence of wickedness in the world, and throughout history. If Christ is on His throne, then why does evil run rampant and violence take to the streets? Why is our only apparent response to threat bigotry, and closed-mindedness, which only throws fuel on the fire?
At one point when Jesus walked the earth – before He had yet taken His throne in heaven – He rested in a boat with His friends. He had commended to His friends that they cross to the other side of the sea of Galilee. His friends, who were expert fishermen could be trusted to pilot the boat across the waters. Having given direction to His friends, Jesus left the task in their capable hands, knowing full well their ability to pilot a boat across the water, and went to sleep in the stern.
After Jesus had gone to sleep, a sudden storm came upon the sea of Galilee as it often does even to this day, and in a matter of moments the storm was in such fury that those piloting the boat had completely lost control. The boat began to be tossed about on the water, the waves were spilling in over the sides. The world about the fishermen was suddenly falling apart and they had lost all sense of security.
The boat flooded with water, and the men were well aware that they had no hope of survival. Finally they wakened Jesus – who lay sleeping in perfect serenity, wholly untroubled by the sudden storm. The pilots had lost even the pretext of hope, and were now certain they all would die; the sleeper had trusted Himself in the hands of others, and had no fear.
Jesus arose and did the miraculous – He commanded the oceans, the winds, and the waves to be still, and immediately the waters stilled perfectly and the storm ended.
What a stupendous display! … yet Jesus did not seem to count His miracle with great flourish, rather He seemed almost to downplay it. He turned to His disciples and asked them:
“Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:22-25)
Jesus had entrusted His disciples with His own well-being, and theirs, when He had climbed into the ship, delegating the task of passage to the other side. He had an interesting response when He had to bail them out of an immense trial they ran into in accomplishing the task He had given them: “Where is your faith?”
Most of us today, if we had attempted a task and failed at it for reasons outside of our control, would feel this question (in context) immensely unfair. ‘What do you mean: ‘Where’s my faith’?! I was in an impossible situation!’
“Where’s your faith?”
How could He ask such a question in that situation? Did He expect them to have stilled the storm themselves? Maybe He did. Maybe Jesus expects more of our faith, and its results than we do.
Yet even prior to the question of whether they were responsible to still the storm is this one: they CERTAINLY were responsible to trust God for their need even in the most impossible situation. “Where is your faith?”
The interesting thing about this story, is that it doesn’t actually seem to be one about the sovereignty of God – though people often try to see it that way. Jesus was a man – He was God in the flesh, but He had limited Himself to the sovereignty of manhood. If this were a story highlighting the sovereignty of God, the Lord would have intervened without any act on the part of the man Jesus Christ. God would have stilled the storm simply because of Jesus’ presence in the boat, but instead it was Jesus – the human vessel – who commanded the storm to cease. Someone had to act, and Jesus knew it.
Yet consider the difference between Jesus response in the ordeal, and the response of the disciples. He remained in perfect peace, so much so that a great rocking storm, loud claps of thunder, and even the splashing of waves against His body did not stir Him from sleep. Jesus was in such peace that His sleep was supernatural.
Jesus’ disciples, on the other hand, were utterly terrified, and convinced that they all would die. Their peace – which had surely been in tact when they boarded the boat, and began across the sea while it was calm – had entirely vanished. Their circumstances dictated to them their sense of security.
Jesus’ trust dictated His sense of security. Not that He trusted His disciples – though the story surely indicates He had done that – but He trusted God entirely. Jesus believed that God would never leave Him the helpless victim of His circumstances. Even in His crucifixion, He declared that no one could take His life from Him, HE laid it down (John 10:17 & 18). Jesus was no victim of circumstances, no, not even in His death on the cross.
In the boat on the sea, the disciples proved themselves to be the victims of their circumstances. They had lost all of their peace because they did not trust that God was invested in them above their current circumstances. Jesus rebuked them for it: “Where is your faith?”
Jesus Christ is actively presiding from His throne today. This is better for the Christian than His physical presence on earth would be to us, because in that instance He could only be in one place. Now He can reside in every Christian person on the earth; your submission to His presence within you dictates what He can do in your life.
You may not have power to still the storm that you are facing… but you do have power to trust that God is with you, and will not leave you the victim of your circumstances.
A good deal of our victory as Christians lies in abiding in Christ – there be some who ask: ‘Shouldn’t we be a little concerned over our circumstances? How can we act in wisdom if we are not even a little affected be our situation?’ But the bible tells us to, quote: ‘Be careful for nothing…’ (Phil 4:6). We can have a general sense of peace about our lives, knowing that God is with us, or we can have a general sense of foreboding – never sure what atrocities the Lord may ‘allow’ into our lives today.
We could respond like the disciples did in this story, and abandon all hope the moment we face a difficult situation, or we could do as Jesus did, and abide in the peace of God. It was from the place of Jesus’ faith that He had the ready solution to the problem – His communion with the Father was the calm within Him, and became the calm without. As in all things, Jesus is our perfect example.
Where is YOUR faith?