August 12, 2016

Faith — no matter what?

Sometimes trouble comes and it seems like God is looking the other way or has gone for a long walk and is out of sight. This is only a feeling and not reality. The Bible is clear that He will never leave or forsake me. However, that does not exclude the horrid feeling that He has!

“And when he 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 . . . .” (Matthew 8:23–27)

The disciples saw Jesus sleeping. They also saw the danger they were in, but in Luke’s account Jesus told them they were going to the other side. He didn’t say they were going to capsize. Which option would they believe — their fears or Jesus’ words?

Chambers adds that when a crisis comes, Christians should be so confident in the Lord that we are the reliable ones when others are losing their calm. We tend to trust Him up to a certain point, then go back to elementary panic prayers — just like people who do not know God.

I know that feeling. A problem becomes intense. At first I trust Him (I get in the boat), but after a while the problem intensifies and my heart starts racing. He seems to be asleep and the problem begins to wash over me. I begin to think without faith and forget His sovereign grace.

At some point, I begin to realize that I’ve added my own wants and wishes to His promises. He said to the disciples that they were going to the other side. He did not promise easy sailing. He tells me that He will never leave or forsake me, but He didn’t say that I would always experience that delightful and comforting sense of His presence. Either I have added stuff that He didn’t promise, stuff that I want for me, or I have paid too much attention to my fears and my feelings and not enough to what He has said.

“O you of little faith” must have produced an awful feeling in the hearts of those men who thought they could follow Him no matter what happened. It gives me an awful feeling too, even though I realize that my disappointment is not in Him, but in the reality that He will not always grant what I want. Instead of trusting in Him and His wise and sovereign rule in my life, I continually fall into the trap of adding my desires to His promises and thinking He is my servant instead of the other way around.

The problems and crisis situations instantly reveal upon what or whom I rely. In some of these situations, my faith rises like the waves of the sea and easily overcomes the test. In some of them, I fail miserable, and am miserable when I do. Like the disciples, I cry out for Jesus to calm the storm rather than calm my heart and take me to the other side.

Trusting God means just that — reaching my breaking point and still remaining confident that God will stay close and take whatever action needed to show me that He loves me, He is still in charge, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

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