"Why are you so afraid?"
Scripture: Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27
As we have been making progress on our house, my husband and I have been slowly unpacking more of our things. I finally got to unpack some of my books, and as I was putting them up on the bookshelf, I found a few old journals.
I have so many journals, but one caught my eye. I flipped through and read some of my prayers from a few years ago, and was stunned. There were pages full of thoughts and emotions, and one of those emotions was fear.
What surprised me the most, was now, standing in my new house in a different state with so many of those fears alleviated, I scanned through lists of prayers and could mentally check each one off.
I had completely forgotten about some of those prayers, but God hadn't.
He heard each one and responded to it. As I read through my own thoughts and emotions, I remembered how at the time it felt like God wasn't hearing me. I felt like I was crying out to Him, with little or no response.
One prayer I continually wrote and prayed throughout that season was a simple phrase I now realize I was praying, and God was writing on my heart. Although I forgot how fervently I prayed that phrase, God didn't. Actually, it's the title of my upcoming book. He truly doesn't miss a thing.
When we are in the storm, when we are scribbling out how afraid we are on pages and pages of a journal, we don't imagine our prayer becoming the title of our first book.
Often, we look exactly like the disciples, trying to shake Jesus with our prayers begging Him to wake up and see how afraid we are about the outcome of a circumstance, as if He doesn't already know about it.
The disciples were in the boat with Jesus, who was sleeping. This is a familiar passage to many of us. A sudden storm rolls in, and they're not being irrational about it, it could kill them. Many of the disciples were skilled and experienced fisherman. I think they probably knew how serious the situation was, and were reacting appropriately.
At some point, I think they recognized it was beyond their control. That's where Jesus comes in.
There are certain situations we are familiar with and pretty good at dealing with. We've had tough conversations with friends before, we've tried something new, we've gone through a big transition, we've moved, we've started a new job. We have some experience at weathering storms, but the disciples wake up Jesus in desperation because this storm was different.
This storm required more than the knowledge and experience they had. It required supernatural power, and a miracle.
Jesus wakes up, and doesn't start by addressing the storm. I love this about Jesus when I read the Bible, but it's actually really difficult to experience in my own life.
Jesus doesn't acknowledge the storm. He focuses on His relationship with the disciples. He's like; Hey I get that you're scared of this circumstance right now, I'll take care of that later, but can we talk about how that's impacting your relationship with me?
Reading the Bible I think Jesus is incredible. I love how He is so focused on the relationship with the disciples, deeply and intimately involved with them. He doesn't care about how much water gets into the boat because He knows He can handle it whenever. He just wants to make sure His disciples trust Him. I think the same is true for us.
He's not late, He's not sleeping through your storm, ignorant and unaware of your struggle. He's focused on being in relationship with you. He wanted the disciples to be certain of His ability to save, and He wants us to be certain that He can be trusted.
Even when it seems like He isn't paying attention, we know God hears us (1 John 5:14).
Maybe He lets the storm go on for a bit longer than we like, maybe it feels like it takes us outside of our experience and knowledge, and maybe it feels like He's not paying attention.
We know how this story ends for the disciples, Jesus rebukes the wind and waves and they are safe. We don't know how our own storms end though when we're in them. We don't know if the friend will choose to forgive us, if the job change was the right choice when we make it, if the sickness will go away, or if the investment will be worth it in the end. But we do know that Jesus promises to be with us, and He can be trusted.
When we're feeling afraid, I think Jesus is often asking us, "why are you so afraid?" Because fearing the storm shows that we don't trust in the One who has authority over it. In His kindness, Jesus demonstrated that authority to the disciples leaving them amazed. This should be a reminder to us that "when I am afraid, I put my trust in you" (Psalm 56:3).
-Do you feel afraid? Journal about what is causing you to feel fear and why.
-The disciples likely had dealt with many storms on a boat before, and yet, this one felt like it went beyond their experience and control. How does this relate to your life? In what areas are you an expert?
-Jesus reminded the disciples of His authority over everything throughout Matthew. He healed the sick physically, cast out demons to show His supernatural authority, and even demonstrated authority over the weather. In what ways has God reminded you of His authority in your life?
When you begin to feel fear this week, repeat this verse from Psalm 56:3 to yourself as a breath prayer.
(Breathe in) "When I am afraid" (breathe out) "I put my trust in you"
You don't miss a thing by Amanda Cook
Jesus we worship you for having authority over all things; the physical storms, the supernatural storms, and every combination of both. Thank you for never missing anything. Increase our awareness of your presence with us, even when it feels like you might be distant or unaware help us to place our trust in you. Use our fear this week to draw us into a deeper encounter with you. Amen.
If you're enjoying these devos, share them with a friend! Also, read "Do you want to get well?" the first post in the new series "Questions Jesus Asked."