We have all heard the story in the gospels where Jesus calms the storm. But let’s dig a bit below the surface and unpack what it means for not just His first-century disciples, but what it means for us and the storms we face.
“When Jesus got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, ‘Save us, Lord; we are perishing!’ He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?’ ” (Matthew 8:23-26).
Because we know the rest of the story; because we know what Jesus is going to do next; because we know Jesus as the all-powerful Son of God, we often just zip past the first part of Jesus’ question, “Why are you afraid?” But in the context of its time and place, it really is borderline absurd.
They are in a huge storm. The boat is about to be swamped. Experienced sailors are thinking they are about to perish. And Jesus calmly asks, “Why are you afraid?”
The disciples, who are slowly discovering who this teacher truly is, had to be thinking, “Are you crazy Jesus? Have you gone mad? Look at the storm. We are about to die. I think it is pretty obvious why we are afraid.”
But Jesus wasn’t crazy. The disciples had just witnessed tremendous acts of supernatural healing recorded in the previous verses of Matthew chapter 8. And Jesus is calmly asking them to have faith in the person and presence of the healer. Jesus calms the storm without further comment from the disciples and then turns to them with one more question, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25).
And this is where we fit into the story. As we face the storms of life, where is our faith? Is our faith in the presence and promise of Jesus? What I think Jesus is really saying to His disciples in His discussion of fear and faith is, “In the midst of the storm, you have nothing to fear because I am here.”
“I am here” is the powerful promise of Christ to us in the midst of our storms. “I am here” is the message of Christ in about a hundred places in the New Testament.
- “I will never leave or forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
- “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
- “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).
- “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3)
- “He abides in you and you in Him” (I John 4:15).
- “I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (John 14:20).
- and a bunch of other places.
Please hear this: the promised presence of Jesus, the “I’m here” of Jesus, is yours the minute you believe. Jesus’ “I’m here” is NOT based on your behavior. It is based on His secure promise. He will never leave you because of your failures, challenges, doubts, sins, or anything else.
In the midst of your storm; hear, embrace, and believe the comforting words of your Deliverer, “I’m here.” This is not wishful or positive thinking to get you through the pain. It is the secure and beautiful and powerful promise of Jesus to you.