Let me ask you: How important is faith to you? In whom is your faith placed? How often is your faith put into action?
God's Word teaches us that the Christian life is, from beginning to end, a life of faith. It begins with a decision of faith and then continues by faith. "(For we walk by faith, not by sight)" 2 Corinthians 5: 7. Faith is a vital element for the believer. Without it, the author of the letter to the Hebrews tells us that: "It is impossible to please God." Hebrews 11: 6.
However, Scripture also teaches that the believer is responsible for exercising and putting into action the faith that God has gifted him by grace. It is God who gives faith, but it is we who must trust and put it into practice, applying it in the context of our circumstances.
Sadly, this simple truth of Scripture is often overlooked, especially when we are in the midst of a trial, especially when adversity strikes, especially when unexpected storms arise in our lives.
And this is precisely what happened to the Lord's disciples as well.
The disciples believed in Christ, the disciples had decided to follow Christ, the disciples had seen the power of Christ, but at the time of trial they did nothing with their faith. The storm that arose was so strong that they were controlled to such an extent by fear and anguish that they panicked.
Hence the Lord's question, after calming the rough sea: "How do you not have faith?" Mark 4.40; Matthew tells us: "men of little faith." Matthew 8.26; "Where is your faith?" Luke 8:25.
So here a question arises: What is the kind of faith, or the level of faith that Christ asks of his disciples? And incidentally, he asks us too. Let me first tell you what is not the kind of faith that overcomes the storms of life, to better understand what kind of faith you and I need:
1. Intellectual faith will not help us:
Let us remember that these verses are preceded by an afternoon of instruction and theological teaching by Jesus to his disciples: "And he taught them many things in parables, and told them in his doctrine" Mark 4.2. That day was an afternoon of instruction that began with the parable of the sower. And Jesus closes that afternoon of instruction with the parable of the mustard seed, making a comparison with the kingdom of God. And at the end of that teaching time, Jesus decides to go to the other side.
This would be a night where they had to put into practice a great number of instructions, a great number of experiences, it was the moment to put into practice all that they had seen and heard from the Lord. Remember that God does not want big heads but big hearts. Because this kind of faith, (the intellectual one) far from helping us in the midst of the storm, far from bringing peace in the midst of the storm, far from calming our storms will enliven them even more.
And the disciples at this point in history had sufficient evidence of the reaches of the Lord's power. But now, it was time to put that faith into practice.
The boat is in the midst of hurricane force winds, the winds and waves are so strong that these experienced fishermen were so fearful that they think they will die and do not know what to do.
The fact that these men who were practically born in the sea, professionals of the sea, connoisseurs of the sea, panic; it must have been a storm of cyclonic proportions. And those storms of nature have similarities to the storms that occur in our lives. Where many times Jesus orders us to go to the other side, only to find ourselves face to face against a storm, because he has lessons to give us, lessons that I would not learn if I were exempt from going through a storm.
And the reason why I want to emphasize this point a bit is, because if this experience that the disciples lived, they see it simply as a demonstration of the power of Jesus over nature, and they are not capable of self-examination, they are not aware that they have to be self-critical and draw lessons for their lives; So, it would have been perhaps a great shame to have been through something like that, and not see the tremendous implications and purposes of God in the midst of the storms of life.
I think that happens many times with us, we go through a storm of different kinds, and frequently when we manage to go out and find peace, many say: "Blessed be the Lord God who helped us." And that's fine! But if we didn't know how to extract from the storm the lesson that God wanted to convey to us, we will lose a lot in terms of character, in personal terms, and of course in spiritual terms.
Because each storm has specific purposes, specific goals, specific lessons that we must learn. Nothing that happens in our life, including the storms of life, is nonsense. God has a goal set for everyone.
Therefore, we have to remember something that sometimes gets out of our understanding, that behind every storm the hand of God is present. And, even if the strongest storm rises, let us remember that they are aligned with God's purposes and objectives for our life.
Sometimes the storms have the objective of weakening my negative emotions such as fear, in such a way that these storms help us to trust God, to place my trust in the hands of God who is showing that he has control over all circumstances. that your children might face in life.
So it was the right time for the disciples to exercise faith in Jesus, but they didn't.
The question is: What is the first place we turn when we face the storms of life? What is our first reaction when we are under a lot of pressure?
The storms come into our lives to see where our faith leans, this is very evident in this story. And I think too many Christians are exhausted, weakened, discouraged because they try to face their storms in their own strength.
And by doing it this way, it produces in many not only physical and emotional exhaustion, but also spiritual wear, leading them to abandon ship, or as we would say: "to throw in the towel."
The point was that the male disciples had lost control of themselves, so much so that they were filled with anguish, even though Jesus was in the boat. They lost control to such an extent that they even questioned Jesus' care for them: "Master, are you not careful that we perish?"
It is as if they had said to Jesus: “We have left everything for you, and you don't even take care of us? With death threatening us all, don't you mind that the fury of the winds will destroy us? "
How many times have we not felt that way? Problems come and corner us to the point that we think that God is very distant, alien and unconcerned from us.
We think that God's hand has released us, that God seems not to care about our problems, that God has forgotten about us. Yet it is precisely in those moments that we must put faith into action. So what is the faith we need in the midst of the storm?
Well we are going to answer this question in our next study, meanwhile, let me conclude with this verse: Read Habakkuk 3.17-19