Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
Read: Luke 8: 22-25
By Dane Tyner
Has a frightening life experience ever caused you to misplace your faith? Three of the four Gospels tell this story of the 12 Disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee with Jesus in a boat. They had already witnessed some amazing acts of Jesus by this time. They had been hand-picked by the Master to be in His inner circle, to follow more closely than many who were strong fans of this fascinating Rabbi.
Jesus held the itinerary; these men just followed Him. So, when Jesus said to them, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake,” they just got in the boat with Him and shoved off. In fact, it looked like a nice day for a trip across the lake when they boarded the boat for that trip to the other side.
How quickly our life circumstances can change! What had started as a pleasant boat ride across a placid lake, became a terrifying experience in short order as a sudden “squall came down on the lake” and sent threatening waves into their boat. Not all these men were seasoned sailors, but a few were. The former professional fishermen onboard undoubtedly had experienced some scary experiences on this lake before. When the Scripture says, “the disciples went to wake Jesus up in fear,” it does not exclude any of the men. If anyone on board was saying anything like, “Hey, don’t bother Jesus; He needs the rest, we’ll be fine,” surely one of the Gospel accounts would have informed us. We are left to believe that all twelve disciples were panic-stricken.
Listen to their desperate plea: “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” Mark’s Gospel account says they approached Jesus with this: “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” (Mark 4:38). Maybe you wonder, “well, which did they say?” Remember that there were twelve terrified men; they were probably all shouting their own similar, yet slightly different, sentiments. They felt the threat of death to their very lives; they wanted Jesus to do something; they wanted Him to save them.
The freshly awakened Jesus went into rebuke mode. First, He “rebuked the wind and the raging waters.” In a moment, all was calm in nature – not necessarily in the hearts of the Twelve. Our emotions can flare up in a moment; they do not settle down nearly as quickly. To the trembling Twelve, Jesus gave a relatively gentle rebuke. He asked, “Where is your faith?” Apparently, it was a rhetorical question. He did not press for an answer, and they didn’t answer. Instead, they asked each other the burning question of the moment: “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him.”
The Disciples referred to Jesus often as “Teacher,” and so He was. In this unforgettable crisis, Jesus not only saved, He taught. He led the Twelve to contemplate a most important question: “Who is Jesus?” As we read this account and believe it to be a genuine report, we can have our faith fortified. If you and I had been in that boat with the Master as those twelve men were, we would have an even stronger conviction that Jesus is Lord over everything. Their testimony is supposed to inspire confidence in us when life is going crazy, such that we learn not to go crazy with it.
If a crisis of life has led you to misplace your faith, go to Jesus like they did. Honestly tell Him how you feel. He may ask you “where is your faith?” - not to put you down but to help you see you’ve misplaced it. And something about the transaction will help you find your faith again, and probably discover it is bigger than the last time you saw it.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, we can misplace our faith. Sometimes, we can’t find it when we need it most. It can feel like it is totally lost, like we are totally lost. Teach our hearts to come to You when we are afraid and desperate. Teach us all we need to know to be overcomers in this world and not overcome by it! Amen.
Dane Tyner is founder and director of Home Improvement Ministry in Tulsa. H.I.M. is a trans-denominational ministry, providing a variety of Christian family services including personal and family counseling, seminars, and written materials designed to help people overcome obstacles to the life God wants us to claim in Christ. Learn more at www.forhim.org.