Finding a familiar faith with the disciples
And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”Matthew 8:23-27
I don’t know about you, but I find comfort in these words, but maybe not for the reasons you think. It’s not because Jesus calms the storm. It’s not because the disciples are saved from perishing. It’s not even because Jesus points out how little faith they have. Nope.
It’s because the disciples walked with Jesus, lived with Him on the road, followed Him for three years, and still they don’t always understand who He is.
I take comfort in that. When my faith is small and wobbly, and when I think my circumstances are overwhelming and I am perishing from the weight of my journey, and the accompanying inner storms, these kinds of word pictures from Scripture remind me I am in good company.
I mean, these men just witnessed Jesus heal Peter’s mother-in-law with a touch of His hand and then go on to heal many, many more. Even so, they marvel when He quiets the storm at sea with its crashing waves swamping their boat and threatening to capsize them. He speaks and the storm calms. And the disciples stare, jaws dropped, eyes wide. At least that’s how I picture them. And they ask: What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?
They know and yet they don’t. Just like me.
They call Him the Messiah, and yet they don’t completely comprehend what that means. Just like me.
They trust Him and yet they also doubt. Just like me.
They have incredible faith and yet they still have moments where fear takes over and their faith is small and wobbly. Just like me.
They travel with Him and know Him. And, yet, they don’t. Just like me.
If these men who walked with Jesus during His three years of ministry on earth, listening to His words and watching His interactions and His going off alone to pray; if these men didn’t always understand Him, it makes sense that I have moments of doubt and fear and little faith or understanding.
That’s why I take such deep comfort in these kinds of moments from Scripture. Sometimes I think the ones who followed Jesus — the 12 disciples and the women who also were part of the group — must have had a greater faith than me. This feels more true when I face my own storms and when I feel like I’m going under with waves.
But in those moments, just like the one in the boat with the disciples, when I cry, Help me, don’t you see what’s happening to me, Jesus rebukes the storm. And like the disciples, I am left to marvel, what sort of God is this who calms the worst storms, even the ones in me?
I love how He loves us. I love how He shows up in the midst of our stormy moments, too, and reminds us He is with us.