Editor’s note: This article is reprinted from the December 1993 issue of The Pilgrim Witness.
“Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the sea; and there was a great calm.” Oh, if only we could have clutched the gunwale of that heaving boat and witnessed the power of those words! The winds died, the sea was calm, and the disciples were awed. Jesus’ rebuke of those forces shows to us that they were being controlled by a power that was more than natural. Nature is always subject to the will of its Creator.
No, we are rarely privileged to witness power such as Jesus displayed in the natural world, but how often have we witnessed this same power at work in the spiritual world? Can we personally testify to the marvelous calm that is imposed on the spiritual tempest when the human heart realizes its need, sees the only source of help, and cries out, “Lord, save us: we perish!”? beautiful peace from the Prince of Peace!
But wait! What is the Master’s response? “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” Why a rebuke; why a questioning of their faith? Was not their request an indication of their faith rather than an evidence of a lack of faith? For these experienced fishermen and boat owners who understood the storm potential of the Sea of Galilee to expect Christ, a carpenter, to save them must have required faith. Where did they lack faith?
Christ acknowledged their little faith, but what would have been the disciples’ response if they would have had a great faith? Without doubt, Christ did perform a notable miracle, but what was His original plan for the disciples and the storm?
Clearly, these fishermen had reached the end of their skills, and the consequences to them were obvious. Was Christ really going to let the boat sink? Never!
The miracle as performed was a manifestation of God’s power against Satan’s power, straight and simple. It would have been a greater miracle for God to simply protect them through that storm. For God to face Satan, the outcome is certain; but for God to empower weak mortals to withstand the storms of Satan is a real miracle.
To cry “Lord, save us: we perish!” in the middle of a storm requires faith that God can save us; yea, a little faith. Is it not the same as saying, “Lord, get me out of this because I don’t believe You can protect me through this experience”? Do we call that faith?
Yet how many times have we done just that as we faced the spiritual storms? We can see the storm approaching; we know from past experience the power behind the storms; and we fear. We struggle, we are buffeted, and we feel our spiritual strength failing. We cry to the Lord, but for what should we ask? Deliverance? No, strength! The greatest thing that God can do is not to overpower Satan Himself, but to empower a weak mortal to stand up to the worst that Satan is allowed to bring to him.
Remember Job? His possessions were gone; his family was gone; his health was gone; his friends attacked his character; his wife told him to give up and die. Did Job cry for deliverance? No, he worshiped and blessed God because he knew God would deliver him through the experience. What was the result? God knew He could say to Satan, “Hast thou considered my servant Job?” and Satan finally had to admit defeat. Defeat, not at the hands of God, but at the hands of a man, a man that knew God. Now that is a miracle! Let us never forget that God has planned or allowed every detail that we will ever face in life. The potter’s wheel and the refiner’s fire, however, are not always pleasant experiences. Furthermore, we will never face a situation from which God could not deliver us. It is not wrong to ask for deliverance from a trial. Jesus healed many a sufferer, and He Himself asked to be delivered.
God may at times test the commitment of His children, or He may desire to bring honor to Himself through their deliverance. Ask, seek, knock; but a request for deliverance may never reflect a lack of faith in the keeping power of God. There are times when God would like to use His servants to show to Satan and the world the real security, peace, and power that is found in the Christian experience; and often this is displayed most clearly in the midst of storms. Let’s never second guess God; anything less than His will is second rate.
May our attitude be like that of the songwriter: “Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go; Anywhere He leads me in this world below; Anywhere without Him dearest joys would fade; Anywhere with Jesus I am not afraid. Anywhere! anywhere! Fear I cannot know; Anywhere with Jesus I can safely go.”
Reprinted October 2014