Door number three reveals an example of modern faith.
“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Do you see it? It happens to all of us many times. Consider the situation. The disciples and Jesus are in a boat. A storm comes. The disciples freak. They go to the only one on the planet who can help them. The only one who could even begin to think about sleeping through such a storm. They interrupt Jesus’ nap and ask him….no, beg him to do something. They fear for their lives.
Jesus wakes up, hears them, asks one question about their faith, and takes control of the situation. That particular storm in their lives became immediately calm.
For years I have wondered what the basis of Jesus’ question was. When a group of guys who are scared to death come and ask Jesus to do something…. to “save” them, Jesus questions their faith. I always thought that the question was out of place. If they did not have faith that Jesus could do it, why would they ask? One would think that Jesus would have been happy that they asked.
A few years and a few personal trials have made me understand Jesus’ question. As with everything Jesus did (and does), the timing was perfect. Jesus knew that they were going to have the same reaction that we as humans have when we don’t really ask prayers with a firm faith. The question in this story really should not be around why Jesus questioned their faith. The better question is, if the disciples really believed Jesus could save them, why were they amazed when he did?
Fast forward to our lives right now. How many times have you seen prayers answered that you were amazed actually got answered? How many times have we half-heartedly prayed for healing for a friend and were shocked when they were actually healed? How many times have we prayed for Jesus to stop the storm, and it actually stopped?
I am afraid that we lace our prayers with a patchwork of out-clauses for God. See if you have heard (or prayed) any of these lately:
“Lord, if it is your will, please heal (fill in blank)” – translated, “if they happen to get better, we will give you the credit. If they don’t we’ll assume you have a bigger plan that we just can’t see – so we have provided this mechanism known as “your will” so that we can explain the unexplainable.
“Lord, be with the hands of the doctors….” – translated, “Lord, we’re guessing you really won’t do anything miraculous, but maybe you will use modern medicine to heal.”
We can add more and more examples. From job changes to children making poor choices to personal injury… we pray for God to intervene like the disciples asked Jesus to save them in the storm that day. We hope it will happen, but we’re not sure it will and we’re often surprised when it does.
Jesus has a very different view of how we should ask God’s intervention. Think of the words Jesus used on earth to describe how to ask boldly… “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”
John 14:12-14 – NIV (emphasis mine)
Mankind has not changed much, huh? Men who had watched Jesus heal and cast out demons questioned whether or not he could control the weather. Even when they asked for help, they were shocked when help arrived.
The simple message behind door number three? We must pray that God will increase our faith. We need to ask of God boldly. Consider the one through whose name we pray! The bible is filled with instances where men talking to God brought about a different result from the original plan. If we really start to pray in faith, knowing that Jesus can and will answer our prayers, then we will truly see the benefit of the cyclical nature of prayer. Asking of God, watching for Him to work, giving him praise, asking of God, etc.
It’s time to break the cycle mankind has had since that day on the lake when a storm and a bunch of scared-to-death men interrupted the nap of the King of Kings. Pray for your faith. Pray for my faith. A stronger faith is what we hope to reap as we continue along our Journey.
Written by Mark Hodges–part 3 of 3. Mark, a PV Elder, is married to Tamara, and they have two children. Mark has a zeal for life and is the friend who will always tell you the truth. Mark’s pet peeve is people who take their shoes off on a plane.
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