The Storms of Life
Matthew 8:24-26 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.
I am a fixer. Or at least I like to think I am. When confronted with a problem, I focus on it and try to figure out how to manipulate my surroundings to solve the problem. I will often expend much time and energy trying to figure any problem out, only to discover that I cannot fix it. What is worse, is that I will often only turn to God in frustration, when all my efforts fail and I realize a thing is beyond my control.
There are in life, many such storms that are beyond me. The disciples found themselves in one such predicament while Jesus slept in their boat. This was no metaphorical storm, but rather a very real one which threatened to destroy them. They had the creator of the world with them, but they fought the wind and waves, focusing on the storm until they were nearly swamped by it. Finally, in fear, they woke Jesus as a last resort.
I think I hear a sigh and maybe an eye-roll in Jesus response. Why are you afraid, O you of little faith? Why are you focused on the storm? Why are you afraid of the world when you have the creator of the world here with you?
Jesus says the same thing to me when I focus on my storms instead of first coming to him. It is often only in realizing my utter powerlessness that I look to him, as a last resort, but Jesus says that faith is to keep my eyes on him at all times. I need to practice this faith in the calm so that it is natural to do when the clouds start to gather. Instead of focusing on the world and my frustrations, I need to focus on the one who made the world.
God does not promise that He will calm every storm. Paul was shipwrecked and most of the disciples met a violent end. Looking to Jesus does not mean that He will smooth out every wrinkle of life. It does mean that He takes on my fear and anxiety only when I give it to him. It is only in turning to him that my mind can rest in the true peace of God.
Most of my angst and anxiety in life is caused by my focus on the world instead of God. To this, He says, Oh you of little faith. Look to me and give me your fear. You cannot control any of this, so look to me and believe that I am in control of it all. Faith does not mean that I will get my way. Faith is keeping my eyes on God even when life is not going my way.