This morning i was thinking again of the story of Jesus and his disciples in a boat in the midst of a storm. Remember that one? Jesus is fast asleep while his disciples are understandably terrified as the storm rages all around them and the waves are breaking in, filling the boat. They think they’re going to drown and are wondering why Jesus isn’t doing anything to help. They find him asleep and wake him with these words, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ (Mark 4:38) And Jesus amazing, wonderfully gets up, speaks to the storm and suddenly everything is quiet and still again. He then turns to the disciples and asks them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ (Mark 4:40).
Often i have read these words and thought that Jesus was asking the disciples why they didn’t have faith that He could calm the storm, but i’m not so sure that that’s what He’s getting at anymore. I think that Jesus’ question as to whether the disciples had faith is in relation to their earlier question – ‘Teacher do you not care that we are perishing?’ – which in fact was a question of love not of power. They weren’t asking whether Jesus could calm the storm, they were asking if He cared enough to do so. ’Do you not care that we are perishing?!’… ‘Here we are in the midst of a storm and you are fast asleep as if you don’t care enough about us to do anything about the waves that are about to overwhelm us!’ And Jesus turns to them, having quieted the storm, and asks them why they are afraid and if they still have no faith.
If 1 John 4:18 is right, perfect love drives out all fear. Jesus sees the disciples are afraid and the reason is that they have not fully understood His perfect love and so in the midst of the storm, fear rushes in because their hearts are crying out with questions about His heart and whether it has enough affection for them to meet them in their most vulnerable space.
I wonder how many who read this today are finding themselves in the midst of a tumultuous storm. I wonder how many of us in our brokenness are crying out with questions about God’s heart towards us. There’s nothing quite like the combination of a storm and a sleeping God (or so we assume because of His seeming lack of breaking through) to make us question whether we really are that important to Him and whether He cares all that much for us. The enemy loves to jump into the boat with us and shout in our faces that God doesn’t really love us and the storm is proof of it. Oh but don’t listen to the enemy – he is a liar. His only intention is to deter you from your destiny. Let me encourage you, even in the midst of the most terrifying of storms: GOD LOVES YOU. His heart is full to overflowing with affection for you. He sees you. He hears you. Even in the midst of your storm, He is putting in motion His plan to make all things work for your good and has dispatched His goodness and mercy to be your unwavering companions. Take heart, stand tall, lift up your weary head and let the warm rays of His steadfast love light your way ahead.