Editor’s Note: One of our wonderful SaLT Missionaries, Brittany, is blogging for Camp Gray this spring. This week, she has a reflection on one of her favorite Bible verses.
By: Brittany Davis
To follow along, read Matthew 8:23-27.
The verse “O you of little faith, why are you so afraid?” has always resonated with me more than I’d like it to. It’s the verse that Jesus knew that I, Brittany Davis, would need…
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.
First things first, Jesus goes somewhere and disciples follow. Oftentimes, we never have any real idea of what it’ll take to reach that destination or when we will arrive. Yet “his disciples followed him,” which provides inspiration for the rest of us to do the same.
24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
Following Jesus does not ensure smooth passageways or a ‘heads up’ of all the side effects of walking the path to heaven. When the waves sweep over the boat, our response is so often feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, anxious, or even angry. Like the disciples, we hopefully turn to Christ in these moments.
But how often do we doubt the truth of God’s presence, His power or love when He doesn’t answer us immediately? I have fallen into this, especially during dry seasons of prayer. Ultimately, I get frustrated with God because he wasn’t helping me noticeably in the ways I thought He ought and in the timing I thought He should. There have been times when I’ve become a bratty teeenage-like child of God, thinking, “I need Him now to do this for me… But Jesus is sleeping.” *cue sassy eyeroll*
Fortunately, the story isn’t over yet.
25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
The predictability and near clicheness is almost comical. It is so human to run screaming to Christ when we are in great anxiety. It is also so human to think “this is the end” or to exaggerate the problem (i.e. when a storm comes and we assume we are going to drown). I picture Jesus mumbling under His breath as He walks up to the deck, “Okay I’m coming, I’m coming. I just wanted a nap because I’ve been speaking to crowds, healing people day in and day out, and I’m about to stretch 2 fish and 5 loaves into enough to feed thousands of people, and the 100% human part of me is 100% exhausted. But there’s a little drizzle outside and a breeze, so sure, I am coming.”
26 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.
Well Jesus, that is a great question…
Jesus both demonstrates His authority and 100% calls us out while spending only 2 sentences to do so. He reminds us that we are smaller than our pride tells us so, but also stronger than we believe ourselves to be. Asking us “why are you so afraid?” insinuates there was nothing to be actually afraid of in the first place. By this, the Lord indirectly reminds us that 1) He was present the whole time; 2) His power is greater than any other being or force; 3) His strength is one that defies laws of nature.
When I reflect back on times in my life when I’ve felt safe and wholeheartedly unafraid, many include being around my dad or my brothers. They have made me feel safe because they are strong, protective, and love me. How much greater is God’s love for me? How much greater is His strength? Yet, still here I am, “O you of little faith.”
27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Yet even in our little faith, even in our doubts and overwhelming fears, Jesus shows up. He loves us by actively conquering our fears when we are too weak to do so. Much like in John 21:15-17 when Jesus meets Peter where he is at in his ability to love, Jesus also meets us where we are at in our faith. Even when we doubt and fear, despite the reality of His power and love, Jesus still shows up. His divinity fills all the gaps in our broken humanity.
And the men were amazed.
The verse “O you of little faith, why are you so afraid?” has always resonated with me more than I’d like it to. It’s the verse that Jesus knew that I, Brittany Davis, would need.
Jesus, I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know how much thunder and lightning may come my way. But after reflecting on this passage, Lord, I am ready to be bold. I am ready to live courageously.
I am ready to keep sailing through the storm with you.
Because Lord, next to you, I will not be afraid.