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 8:26)
While Jesus sleeps, a violent storm rages and the disciples are fearing for their lives. They wake Jesus, hoping that He will do something about the storm and save them. Jesus rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith and calms the storm. The disciples marvel at the authority of Jesus – even the elements obey Him!
I have in the past understood Jesus to be rebuking the disciples only for having little faith. I wondered whether Jesus expected that if they had enough faith, they could have rebuked the storm themselves while He slept. The passage clearly shows that Jesus has authority over all creation, and that creation obeys His command. Was Jesus implying that the disciples could have and exercise the same or similar authority over the elements if their faith was strong enough?
But now I notice that Jesus asked “Why are you afraid?” This is what Jesus rebuked them for: fear over what might happen to them, over faith and trust in the sovereign Lord who has authority over all things.
While I theologically hold to the sovereignty of God over all creation, in practice I still experience anxiety and fear – particularly when storms rage around me that I feel I have no control over. I need to trust God and rest in the fullness of God’s sovereign will and authority, as well as His providence in allowing and intending the storms to be a part of my life experience for my good.
The boat the disciples were in could never have sunk with Jesus on board; He had to fulfill His purpose to suffer and die on the cross to save sinners. Nothing could ever have happened to frustrate or put the brakes on God’s plan for Jesus to fulfill that purpose. No storm can do to me what God will not allow, and whatever loss I do suffer, He intended for my good.
Ultimately, Jesus suffered and died on the cross to take away my sin, and was raised for my justification and to give me eternal life. No storm, no worldly loss, no earthly tragedy can take that away from me. My future is secure and assured in Jesus.
Lord, I praise you for your sovereign will and authority over all your creation. Thank you Jesus, for enduring the worst kind of suffering on my behalf on the cross to take away my sin. Please forgive my lack of faith when I am overwhelmed by fear and anxiety over the future. Help me to know and believe in my darkest times that your death and resurrection for me proves your love for me, and to trust in your sovereign will and purposes through the storms, and to thank you for the good that you are working in me for my sanctification by means of those storms.