Have you ever felt as if you were wandering alone in the dark, not knowing what disasters were waiting for you in the shadows or when light would ever shine again? The disciples encountered a similar experience with the treacherous sea storm in Matthew 8. Even though they had Jesus at their side, they let their circumstances drive their fear.
The storm set in suddenly. Not only did the disciples face the dangers of the rough waters, but they were surrounded by darkness as well. There were no life jackets. There were no life boats. They felt they were at the mercy of the great storm.
In a panic, they called for Jesus crying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!" (Matthew 8:25). As Jesus woke from His sleep, He did not instantly calm the storm. Instead, He asked the disciples, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" (Matthew 8:26). Only after His rebuke did He calm the wind and waves.
Many times, we want God to fix our problems instantly. We want the raging waters around us to cease immediately. Yet sometimes in the middle of the crashing waves, God has a word for us. He wants us to deepen our faith and to grow in Him before He intervenes. He wants us to follow in faith — no matter how dark our circumstances seem.
When Jesus spoke to the disciples, He acknowledged that their fears were great and their faith was little. The relationship between faith and fear is like a seesaw. When one is up, the other is down. So when we allow fear to rise, our faith will decline. But the opposite is true as well. When we increase our faith, our fear will fall.
Jesus wasn't talking about our saving faith, but our daily living faith. Our saving faith remains constant, but our daily living faith rises and falls according to the strength of our relationship with God. When we are not in constant intimacy with God, the first storm that hits will create fear and panic. When we give God the crumbs of our time and attention, our faith and understanding in Him will weaken.
Faith that conquers fear depends on absolute trust in God. It is the kind of faith that has an open heart to whatever God provides for us. It is a faith that is manifested as an utter dependence on the sovereignty of God. When we live by faith, we know that even when the storm is at its worst, we can trust that God is working out His purposes for us.
When Jesus rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith, He was referring to their failure to trust Him in this practical situation. How often do we trust God with our eternal souls, yet not our daily needs? God wants us to trust Him not only with our salvation, but also with our relationships, our resources, and our futures. He wants to see our professed faith in action. He wants us to put our complete trust in Him for every detail of our lives.
When we walk close with God and trust Him daily, our faith will conquer our fears. When we put our focus on God, fear fades into the background. At the first sign of fear, our plan of action should be seeking God in prayer.
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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