Is Your Faith Unshakable?
Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
In the early 1990’s when our daughter was three years old, we were stationed in Germany. My husband had gone over before us and rented us an apartment to live in. I didn’t like flying though I had flown a couple of times prior. I didn’t like the fact that my feet weren’t firmly planted on the ground and, to be honest, that I wasn’t flying the plane. No, I don’t know how to fly a plane, but I had control issues. If anything happened, I couldn’t steer my way out or fix the problem. My life was literally in the hands of another person and that scared me. We had just taken off and were maybe 10 minutes or so into the flight (could be longer…it was a long time ago!) when the plane did a u-turn and began heading back down. No one knew what was going on and people immediately began talking nervously, looking out the window, and wondering what was happening. My daughter, who was sitting next to me, immediately leaned over without saying a word and placed her head in my lap and just laid there quietly. I, on the other hand, was praying for dear life while gripping the arms of the seat! Fear was definitely having it’s fun with me that day as I could feel my heart racing while I wondered what was going to happen next. In a few minutes the Pilot came on to say one of the stewardesses became ill and they had to go back to the airport. Everyone soon relaxed but my thoughts were “I can’t wait until they build a bridge from the U.S. to overseas so I can drive and never have to go through this again!” I’m still waiting.
When I now look back on that time, it’s amazing the lack of trust I had in God. I always believed in God and had faith in Him but I now believe it was a surface faith and not a true faith. I think it was more like hope where you just hope for the best to happen. We need hope…there is nothing wrong with it because many times when we feel like we are hanging on to the last string on the rope, it’s that hope in God that will see us through. Many believe that hope and faith are the same thing, but they aren’t. Hope is when we feel that what we want can be received or that situations will turn out for the best. Faith, however, is knowing without a shadow of a doubt that the situation we are going through will be taken care of by God and we don’t have to worry. It’s believing things will be fine without even seeing it first. It’s an unshakeable belief that God will work. I can honestly say on that day of our flight, I did not have unshakeable faith, yet I was definitely shaking! I had fear and hope…hope that we would land safely.
When we look at the scripture in Matthew 8, we see Jesus is asleep in the boat while the storm is kicking up around Him. The scripture states that a “great tempest arose on the sea”. Tempest is another word for a violent windstorm, commotion or disturbance. So a violent windstorm was shaking the boat and even coming into the boat as it states the waves were coming into the boat. I know that if I was gripping the arms of the seat on my plane when the plane took that u-turn, I definitely know that I would have been freaking out and trying to get Jesus to wake up! The disciples had believed in Jesus and what He could do because they woke Him up and said “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” but their faith was not unshakeable as we see in Jesus’ reply “why are you so fearful, O you of little faith?” If they had unshakeable faith, especially seeing that Jesus was in their boat, they would have hung on, done what they were trained to do in steering the boat, moved closer to Jesus and then rode out the storm. Their big clue that things were going to be ok was Jesus sleeping while the storm was going on around Him. That is true faith, confidence and peace in knowing that His heavenly Father will protect not only Him but those with Him.
Now, I know some would say “well He’s Jesus…of course He would be asleep. Nothing is going to hurt Him”. On one hand, that’s true, but that’s not the point. Jesus was setting an extraordinary example to His disciples of His faith in God that everything would be ok. We must remember when He came to earth he came as a man so He could feel pain both physically and emotionally. He wasn’t beyond that. He could feel fear and all other normal emotions. He was even put to the test when He was in the desert for 40 days and Satan tried to tempt Him. The Bible is full of people with unshakeable faith. Daniel refused to stop praying to God when a law was made permitting him from doing so. Because of his faith in God, he was thrown into the lion’s den. He didn’t know what would happen to him after that but he chose to have faith over fear and faith won out. God kept the lions mouths closed. There is also Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in Daniel chapter 3 who refused to serve the gods of the King they worked for but chose to remain faithful to God. They were thrown into a fiery furnace but instead of dying, an Angel of the Lord stayed with them and their bondage’s around their wrists came off. In verse 27 it states:
“And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.”
Sometimes the situations we go through may seem overwhelming or that there is no way out. It will try to bring fear and doubt to our minds that it’s an impossible situation and not even God can get us out of it, but we know that’s not true. Many times, God will have us walk through the situation, even some we consider pretty bad. However, it’s not meant to harm us but strengthen our faith in God, break our chains and bring immense glory to God in the eyes of unbelievers. We consider to be thrown in a fiery furnace a torturous thing, but God used it to prove His power and glory by protecting the three men and breaking their bondage’s. Spiritually, this type of predicament could occur in any situation we get into. The heat of the problem could be turned up several notches and on the surface everything can look impossible and hopeless, but when we hold onto our faith and trust that no matter what happens God is with us, we will see a different outcome.
Jesus slept in the boat while the storm was going on around Him. It wasn’t because He was oblivious to it or turning a blind eye to it. It was because He had faith in knowing that God was in control and would protect Him throughout the storm. He just had to ride out the storm and what better way to do it than by getting some rest and sleeping! As I noted before, the waves of the storm even came into the boat that Jesus was in which means that even though Jesus was present, the storm was still able to come in and touch them, but it wasn’t able to harm or kill them because Jesus was there. This shows we are not exempt from feeling the effects of a storm, trial or problem. Sometimes it can even spill onto us, but the difference is when we have unshakeable faith in Christ, we won’t be harmed or killed by it.
If you are in a situation where you feel there is no way out or no solution, don’t be discouraged! Jesus is in the boat with you, you just have to ride out the storm. Maybe the storm is pretty fierce or the fire is immensely hot. Don’t worry! Just bring the problem to Jesus and take a rest from the situation. Pray for God to give you that unshakeable faith in knowing that no matter how bad the storm is, God will rescue you.
Lord, the storm in my life is pretty bad right now and the fire is intensely hot. I don’t know what else to do and I bring this problem to you. Please calm my fears and the storm and increase my faith in the process. Help me to be stronger in faith so when another storm hits, I will not be overcome by the waves of fear as Peter had when he tried to walk on the water to go to you. He lost his focus in the storm around him and began to sink. Help me to keep my focus on You so that I can ride out the storm until you rescue me from this. I ask this in Jesus name…Amen.