Who’s in your Boat?


            Now it happened, on a certain day, that he got into a boat with his disciples.  And he said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.”  And they launched out.  But as they sailed he fell asleep.  And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy.

            And they came to him and awoke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  Then he arose and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water.  And they ceased, and there was a calm.  But he said to them, “Where is your faith?”  And they were afraid, and marveled, saying to one another, “Who can this be?  For he commands even the winds and water, and they obey him!” (Luke 8: 22-25.)


            The Sea of Galilee is the lowest (below sea level) freshwater lake in the world.  Because it is right next to the Mediterranean Sea, warm and cool air meet and create fierce storms almost instantaneously.  No doubt Jesus and his disciples were experiencing one of these storms.  Jesus slept while the disciples, fearing for their lives, were panicking.  This fear caused them to forget that Jesus had said, “Let us cross over to the other side of the lake.”  The words of Jesus were the words of God, and as such had to come to pass.  The disciples did not yet understand, or realize who Jesus actually was.  They didn’t know who was in the boat with them.  He arose, and with one command nature itself obeyed him.  Only God had the power over all of creation, but here we see Jesus wielding that same power.  So after witnessing this, they feared him, and they marveled; and they immediately questioned their own understanding.  We can also learn something here about the nature of fear.  Fear has done more damage and created more distress in people’s lives than has any other form of spiritual anguish.  Faith and fear are at war with one another in the human heart.  The presence of one signals the absence of the other, and vice versa; much as light dispels darkness, so faith dispels fear.  In Psalm 23, David writes concerning God, “I shall fear no evil, for you are with me.”  So to dispel fear a person needs only trust and know that God is with them.  The disciples feared the waves, because their faith in the one who was in the boat with them wavered.  There assessment of Jesus was incorrect.  The remedy was to correct their assessment.  He asked them, “Where is your faith?”  They reply to the question of “Where is your faith?” with “Who can this be?”

            There is a gentleman I interact with often at the coffee shop I frequent.  He is under a severe amount of stress; some days he appears visibly upset, unsettled, and distracted.  On one of these days, he leaned over to me and asked, “Can you give a scripture, or something from the bible that will help me to remember that ‘God will never give me more than I can handle?’”  My response was to quote this scripture of Jesus calming the storm.  Although it appeared as though they were going to sink, God wouldn’t allow it.  I reminded him that what is important is who is in the boat with you.  The size of the waves and the measure of desperation weren’t important.  Jesus was the one factor that would keep him floating.

            Today, our lives are like vessels floating on a sea as we travel towards our destination.  Sometimes the seas are tranquil, and sometimes the seas are stormy, but God has made a promise to all those who invite Jesus to accompany them on their journey.  He has promised that you will make it to the other side.  Jesus will not allow you to slip beneath the waves.  You will never sink, no matter how impossible the circumstances appear to be, because he is in control.  He will make your heart and mind as still as a motionless, windless ocean, when there are storms raging all around you.  He will give you a “peace that surpasses all understanding.”  When you feel fear, remember his promises, and know that the one who is with you “will never leave you, nor forsake you.”  Your faith will dispel your fear.  You will reach the destination, you will finish the race; you will keep the faith, because he is with you.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today and we ask You for Your Son, and we ask and pray that he accompany us through this life.  Lord, please protect us from sinking; protect us from being overwhelmed by the storms that arise on our journey.  Help us to possess a faith that dispels all fear and produces hope.  Increase our faith, and help us to feel peace when the world around us is roaring.  We love You, we thank You, and we trust You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.

            (If you’ve never invited Jesus Christ in to your heart and in to your life, you can do that at any time, just by kneeling down in a quiet place and asking Him to be the Lord of your life.  Ask for forgiveness, and believe in your heart that he was raised from the dead, and that through him you have eternal life.  Ask him for his Holy Spirit.  Ask this all in His Son’s Name, and a miracle will happen in your life, and you will never again face the challenges of life alone.)

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