The Living Word:
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” The region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee.
The Word in Motion:
I was reading this passage this morning and I wondered, what would it have been like if the disciples truly believed in Jesus to the fullest extent? Perhaps the Scripture would read: One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. One of the disciples went to wake him but Peter said unto him, “Did not the Master say unto us, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake’? Therefore, do not wake him, but let us to the other side. We will be safe in the midst of this storm.” The storm raged on and the boat was filled with the sea, but they sailed to the region of the Gerasenes, which is across the lake from Galilee. Not Luke 8:22-26
In thinking this way, I am struck by two things.
First, Jesus expects us to have faith in him. With the disciples, it was at least a little excusable. This was all new. They were pioneers in the faith and lapses like this could be expected. We, however, have the benefit of history. We really have no excuse for weak or non-existent faith. The disciples, the early church, our forefathers, a “great cloud of witnesses” all paved the way for us to have the most extraordinary faith – but in reality we’re no better than the disciples that Jesus would ask us, “Where is your faith?”
The cool thing about this is that we can rewrite our story. Much like I have done with the disciple’s story. All it takes (or would have taken for the disciples) is to make a different decision. Look at the circumstances around us and evaluate our chances, or take Jesus at his word. It isn’t always that simple, but it is. Belief is just a decision. The sooner you make the right choice, the easier it will be to build faith, so that next time, the decision comes naturally.
As a simple exercise, try this. Look up all the times Jesus said to someone, “Where is your faith?” or the ever popular “Oh, ye of little faith!” rewrite the story. What would it have looked like with the decision of faith?
Second, BECAUSE the disciples reacted the way they did WE have something very reassuring. If they didn’t wake him up he wouldn’t have rebuked the wind and the raging waters. We wouldn’t have this account that shows us that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him. A powerful assurance that Jesus has everything in control in our lives. And this is an important lesson we need to know. And of course, that’s the reason this story is here. It’s not to point out the failings of the disciples, but to display the power of Jesus (who, by the way, is the same yesterday, today, and forever).
This story is also a wonderful example of the way God takes our failures, fears, and doubts and turns them into something good (Romans 8:28). The disciple’s doubt was our gain. But don’t stop there, what about your past doubts? You may not always see it, but God is at work in those, too. Don’t be discouraged if you waivered in the past. God can (and maybe already has) use them for good. Maybe for you, maybe for someone else. Have faith.
In the meantime, rewrite your story.