Luke 8.22–25 ESV
22 One day he got into a boat with his disciples, and he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side of the lake.” So they set out,
23 and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger.
24 And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were afraid, and they marveled, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even winds and water, and they obey him?”
Growing up, riding a bike was an essential part of being a typical American kid. The desire often began with watching the older kids zoom down the sidewalk, go places you couldn’t normally go, or do things that seemed cool and borderline dangerous. It made you want to ride, until the time came to actually get one one.
On some level you have to admit that it was a bit scary at first, the idea of balancing on two wheels without any help, hoping not to fall and hurt yourself.
Now, I’m not a risk taker and I’m bit cautious. As a child I rarely took a chance. So jumping on a two wheeled death trap and pointing myself down hill was the last thing I wanted to do. But it was so cool, watching the other kids on their bikes. And yes, in the end, the desire to fly across the pavement won out and I asked for a bike for Christmas, which is also my birthday, so I knew it was a sure thing.
On December 25, 1988, my 7th birthday, there was a brand new royal blue Huffy bike next to the tree. I couldn’t wait to try it out…but I did wait, because even though I got exactly what I wanted I was terrified to actually ride it.
How was this going to work? I’d tried to ride my friends bikes, which usually ended with me going sideways and ending up on the concrete with a skinned knee. My dad was determined to get me up and riding that new bike, so one Saturday afternoon he had me out in the front yard. Its almost funny now but I was so scared. For me there was nothing more frightening than the idea of my dad letting go of the bike.
I don’t know what technique your bicycle coach used but my dad stood on the left side of the bike, with one hand on the handle bar and the other grasping the back of the seat. He would push the bike for me, letting me get a feel of the bike in motion and a feel for what balancing was like. He then worked on peddling, encouraging me to put more and more weight on the peddles.
After a while, I was pretty much peddling on my own but my steering was terrible. We’d work on that, him holding the bike up, and just when I had that down we’d have to go back and work on peddling again. God bless him, it took a ridiculous amount of patience to work with a kid who couldn’t stop thinking about falling off. Why couldn’t I trust my dad? Why couldn’t I trust in his presence, in the skills he was instilling in me?
The disciples in our text are no different. They had seen Jesus work and there’s no doubt from the testimony of the four Gospels that they desired to do the work Jesus did. Jesus says in the Gospel of John that the disciples would do greater things than He did (John 14.12). But there is a fear that holds them back from doing extraordinary things.
If they would just trust in His presence, trust in His hand at their back. If they would trust in the power that He instills in them through faith. And that is the issue, is it not? That pesky fear that sits in the place of faith. The question that struck my heart this week was Jesus’ question to them, after calming the storm, when He said, “Where is your faith?”
That’s it, isn’t it?! We look at what is going on outside of us, around us, beside us, and inside us and Jesus is calling out, “Where is your faith?” To me, it almost sounded like Jesus was telling me to go and get it, like I had forgotten it or left it somewhere; like it was out back in the utility shed.
But when we develop even the slightest faith, faith as small as a mustard seed even, we can move mountains or even calm storms.
Since Jesus’ main focus was salvation, the lesson reveals itself as trusting in what Jesus has done FOR us, no matter how bad or crazy things seem. He calls out to us, “Where is your faith?” But hear it like this, “Where is your faith? Go and get it. Put it in your pocket; wear it on your back; carry it with you every where you go. Plant it deep in the soil of your heart and let it yield strength, peace, and assurance.”
The fearful disciples exclaimed after the storm calmed, “Who is this, that even the wind and the waves obey Him?” But if we take up our faith, if we have it with us we can say before the storm comes, “I serve the One whom the wind and waves obey!” This is the cry of people who have claimed the victory of the cross, the people who exercise faith instead of fear.
Call upon the Lord today, whether before, during, or after the storm. May you go today knowing that He is Lord over all things—Lord over life and over death; Lord over the calm and over the calamity; Lord over faith and over fear. But claim faith today, the power God has given you over fear, and hear His forever words of “Peace, be still.” Amen.