Monday, March 11, 2013

Is God Really Enough? (Maturing Faith Part 1)

I've had a question on my mind the past few days.  I am going to ask you that question, as well.  I thought I would take this week and see if we can find the answers.  Join me for a few days as we delve into what maturing faith looks like.  Here is the question:

No matter what comes your way regarding heartache and circumstances, do you think it is simply enough to have God by your side?

That is the question I have been tossing around.  At some moments, I scream that there is no way that His mere presence is all I need.  In times of doubt, I look at my fledgling faith and can give you a list a hundred miles long of things that I would love to add to His abiding presence.

Today, we are going to take a peek into Matthew 8:23-27.  Put on your boat shoes and find your fishing tackle, cause we are taking a little ride today.

"And when he (Jesus) 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?'"
Let's pick this little passage apart Lulu style, shall we?  Can I first say, that I feel like the disciples here?  In my current season of life, I feel like my faith is small.

The first thing I want to say to myself and perhaps to you is this:  The disciples had faith.  They would have never entered the boat to follow Jesus if they didn't have any faith.

The second thing is that as believers, we are going to be constantly bombarded with the storms of life.  The storms look differently, but they all reach inside of us and produce fear and terror. 

The third thing is that Jesus was asleep.  I can't tell you how many times in my walk that Jesus has been silent.  It isn't that I doubt his presence or think that he has abandoned me, but he is quite often content with least until it is the right time to speak.

The fourth thing is that Jesus asks them why they are afraid. This always blows my mind a little.  I mean, the Greek word for great storm is "seismos," which means "violent shaking or earthquake."  It is possible that this storm was greater than we ever pictured on the flannel-grams of our childhood days.  Well, of course they are afraid!  And yet, Jesus still asks them this question.  (His questions always get to the root of our fledgling faith.)

The fifth thing is that Jesus tells them they have "little faith."  He doesn't say they are faithless, but instead uses the Greek word "oligopistos" which means ineffective, deficient, or incredulous faith.  In other words, the disciples' faith lacked confidence.  Some might say that this means they had zero faith, but I beg to disagree, because, after all, they were willing to follow him into the boat in the first place and they also chose to wake him up as if he were their only hope.  There is a measure of relationship already established at this point, but God is getting ready to take them to higher faith (via a storm.)

The sixth thing is that Jesus calms the storm. I think that those with "little faith" sometimes need the storm to simply go away.  In this miraculous act, the disciples see their Jesus in a fresh way.  They marvelled at him.  God allowed them to see His son in a fresh way that brought about increasing faith and wonder.

Personally, I think that those with a more mature faith might not get to experience a calming of the storm itself.  Instead, they will experience a calming of their inner souls.  Because they know the secret:  It is simply enough to have Jesus in the boat with them.

God is always testing our faith because he wants us to know his tender heart towards us.

Pretend you are in the boat with Jesus himself.  The biggest waves are threatening to carry you off into the mysterious and cold unknown.  You frantically wake him up, knowing He is your only hope.  He peers into your eyes with such love and doesn't seem to be in a rush at all.  He then asks you a single question:  "Why are you afraid?"

He wants us to know that it is simply enough for Him to be with matter what is threatening.

Tomorrow, we will start to look at Psalm 23 and how we can spiritually get to a place where we have no fear of bad news.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great word! That is a 'great big question' we all have had to face at some time or another. I'm not sure, but I think maybe it can only be answered while in the storm or even after the storm. What I want my faith to look like when I think about going through another storm is not what it actually looks and feels like while in the storm. For instance, I want it to be sufficient to say, "Lord I trust you no matter what comes", and then move on to walk in faith as if the matter is solved. However, what usually happens is having to constantly go back to surrendering to His Lordship with words like:
"Your will, not mine"
"I surrender"
"This fear is not from you God"
"So be it, Lord" etc...
That doesn't feel like faith, but the fact that we keep going back to the "Source" of faith as did the disciples, then I think that is recognizing that Jesus is enough for our storms, because there is no other one to go to and depend on. Storms are not a good time to depend on feelings or to evaluate our faith, but they are the best time to "walk by faith and not by sight"