Lent Reflections @ CEC: Questions of Jesus
“When people give up chocolate or meat or alcohol or coffee, it is not because we Christians think that if we enjoy something, it must be bad. Coffee, meat, alcohol and especially chocolate are very good things that show God’s goodness, creativity, and provision. Of course, Christians ought to be interested and working toward breaking habits of sin — gossip, lust, judgment, anger, pride, and so on — but this is called repentance, which is certainly not limited to Lent. I’m not giving up Facebook in the same way that I’m repenting of (and trying to give up) anxiety or impatience with my toddler.” — Tish Harrison Warren
Scripture: Matthew 8:23-27
Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly 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!”
“Why are you so terrified”
One day Jesus and His disciples were in a boat on a lake. There was a furious storm and they were afraid. They had reason to be afraid. They were fishermen. They knew the lake well and they knew the danger. They did have one thing going for them though. They had Jesus in the boat. But the Savior of the world was asleep.
So they woke him up. They came to Jesus. Isn’t that is what we are supposed to do in times of trouble? They truly believed that Jesus was able to save them but the storm was scary and He was asleep.
So they woke him up and what does He say?
“Ýou of little faith, why are you so afraid.”
Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith. But didn’t they have faith? They came to Jesus to save them and He did. Shouldn’t He have praised them for their faith? Maybe Jesus should have apologized for falling asleep while they were in such distress.
The truth is that Jesus was never going to let them drown. He was going to let them experience the storm though. Jesus often lets us experience trials to show us our faith is not yet what it could be. He let them experience the power of nature to show us that He has power over all things, even power over the wind and waves. He let Mary and Martha experience the death of their brother Lazarus so He could show that he has power even over death.
Jesus is more interested in building our faith than insuring we have a trouble-free life.
Sometimes we cry out to God like the disciples did. “Where are you God? Why are you sleeping? Don’t you see we are in great danger?” We are in good company. David, the man after God’s own heart, often cried out to a God who seemed to be sleeping. In Psalm 22 he even writes, “My God, my God? Why have you forsaken me. Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1)
You probably remember that Jesus spoke these same words on the cross. The situation could not have looked more hopeless. But Jesus was going to show again that He had power over life and death. But this would be different than the resurrection of Lazarus.
As we prepare for Good Friday and Easter it is good to remember the difference. Lazarus rose but Lazarus would eventually die again. Jesus rose to eternal life and so will we. God was not sleeping. He had a plan to use the suffering of Jesus to save the world. God had not forsaken Jesus and he does not forsake any of His children.
So you say you have faith? Do you want your faith to grow? Do not expect to be quickly delivered from every trial. And even when God seems to be sleeping don’t stop crying out to Him. Read Psalm 22. Mixed with heartfelt cries for help David mixed in inspiring statements of faith. David seemed to know what the disciples in the boat did not know yet, that even when he suffered great trials, even, “when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me.” (Psalm 23)
David had great faith. His faith had been tested many times. But, David did not know what we know. We know that even if Jesus does not deliver us from every trial in this life, ultimately He will deliver us from even the power of death. This is the message of Holy Week. This is the message of Crucifixion Friday followed by Resurrection Sunday. This is a message to all believers in this scary world. Don’t be afraid. God is not asleep.
“Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3
Deliver us from fear. Your word says Perfect love casts out fear. Teach us how to rest in your perfect love and to live our lives filled with faith and not fear.
In Jesus name,