by Lisa Leidenfrost
“Now it happened, on a certain day, that He got into a boat with His disciples. And He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. But as they sailed He fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. And they came to Him and awoke Him saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then He arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water. And they ceased, and there was a calm. But He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him!” (Luke 8:22-25)
What strikes me about this passage is where Jesus was positionally during this scenerio. He was the one who charted the course across the lake and was ‘present’ and ‘all there’ at the beginning. It is easy to go on a voyage when your leader is visibly in front. But note what happens, during the voyage trouble arose with a windstorm. Now remember they are committed to being in the boat since they are in the middle of the lake. They can’t just hop out on shore if the waves get too big for them. This is often the case with trials, God charts the course and once you’re in it, you can’t necessarily get out of it. Since you are now committed, it would be nice to have God’s presence always there in a way you can feel it.
But this was not the case in this situation because Jesus fell asleep, so his presence was not felt by those battling the winds. They must have felt that everything rested on them now. And things were not going well. While Jesus slept, it got so bad that they were in jeopardy. The boat was filling with water and if this continued, they would sink. So, now in desperate straits, they finally turned to their sleeping leader and woke Him with their plea of, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” Then he came to the rescue, His presence was fully there and He made everything right. With a show of strength he rebuked the wind and the waves. Everything became calm again.
The next part astonishes me when I try to picture the scene. I would have expected that He would have tried to reassure those in the boat that everything was ok because He was there now.
But instead of reassurance, they got a rebuke , “Where is your faith?” In other words, He had fully expected that they were to trust Him when He was physically present and awake, and when He was not. It was all the same to Him. Whether they could feel Him there or not, He was still there and they were to believe that He would come through. So they were rebuked. And their reaction was to marvel and fear the great power that He had to control events.
Our God does control events. He is there whether we feel Him or not. When we don’t feel Him, that is the greater test of faith and the more honor to Him. We can still believe in His power to save us from our situations and do good with them even when we cannot feel His presence. We just have to know He is there and know He is good and that He will come through. This is leaning on His promises. But also note that when they failed the test, He still came back as a presence and took care of the situation. He came through whether they deserved it or not. That is grace for you. Giving what we don’t deserve.
“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Is. 41:10
“I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has bestowed on us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has bestowed on them according to His mercies, according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses. For He said, “Surely they are My people, children who will not lie.” So He became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; In His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.” Is 63:7-9