Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March 9, 2011

"Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm."   Matthew 8:26

Here's some good news: I have a lot of faith.

Here's the bad news: I have been through a lot of storms. I've known a lot of fear. I spent all my childhood and early adult years dealing with my own fears, and when I became a pastor I got to share everyone elses' fears. I spend most of my life in someone's storm, I'm sort of like the coast guard.  I would prefer to say I am the "Holy Ghost guard"! He is the rope of hope I toss to people in storms! He is the ULTIMATE Life Preserver!

I want to reflect on something I noticed in this story and you can see what you think.

The disciples where in the storm with great fear but came out of the storm with great faith. That is how it has worked for me as well. Once you survive a few storms they don't scare you as much. There seems to be a definite relationship between fear and faith. It appears that the more faith you have the less fear you have.

So, here's the thoughts I am pondering:

1) Storms can reveal your fear to faith ratio. How much fear do I have and how much faith do I need? Valuable information, right? Only a storm can bring that out.

2) Could it also be that your level of fear predicts your potential for faith? Doesn't it make sense that if you have had great fear you have created space in your heart for great faith? It makes sense to me because it is me. It seems to have fit for the disciples, too.

If those assumptions are true, and they seem to square with the truth of the story, then here is the application for you - Through the fears that life has built into you, God was creating space that He could replace your fears with His faith! The more fear you have known, the more faith is in your future!

Remember all those times when the waves were crashing and the water was splashing and the ship was tossing and you shook your foam covered fist at God and wondered where He was in the storm? He was allowing fear to create a bigger space for faith! Does that make sense?

Maybe that explains why Jesus was asleep in the boat. He was waiting for fear to stretch more space in their hearts to hold His faith. Where we cry out in fear reveals the limit of our faith, so Jesus was waiting for their cry. If God seems to be sleeping on you, maybe He is just stretching your capacity for faith!

That's probably enough to meditate on for one day. But think on it and let the Spirit sort out the truth and show you how it fits where you are. But don't fear your fear because it can show you your potential for faith!

And, if you are in a storm, I hope I tossed you a life line today!

March 8, 2011

"Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown! Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27

I have been in a small boat in the middle of a little lake when a big storm blew through. When the wind is blowing and the waves are tossing and the thunder is rolling and the lightening is flashing - it is frightening! I love to fish with a bobber but I don't want to be the bobber!

I didn't have Jesus in my boat but I certainly was having a conversation with Him! So, I can identify with the angst of the apostles in this storm. I have never felt so helpless and vulnerable. Rowing got me nowhere and I was totally at the whim of the waves. It was not a ride I would care to repeat.

Remember that several of these guys had been professional fisherman who were comfortable on the water and familiar with storms, but even they were scared by this one!

Why were they so freaked out this time? Was the size of their fear in direction proportion to the size of the storm? Fear arises when we sense we are out of control and in danger and they were both.

That is when someone remembered that Jesus was in the boat! That was a game changer! They discovered what you and I can only discover in the midst of a storm, life is bigger than us and more powerful than us and it can threaten us - BUT, Jesus is bigger than the storm! We don't need to be in control when Jesus is in the boat. We just need to be under His control!

Are there storm clouds on your horizon? Are the winds kicking up? Are the waves tossing around you? Are you leaning on the oars just to stay afloat? Here's the deal, take what you learned from the last storm and let it help you deal with the next one. Storms are bigger than you, but Jesus is bigger than storms! Speak to Jesus until He speaks to the storm.