Jesus slept on the boat. Even as water poured over him, wind howled, and disciples cried out in fear all around him, still he slept. He didn’t wake of his own accord. They woke him. That event in a storm on the Sea of Galilee demonstrates what bona fide, 100% pure faith looks like.
Even in human flesh, Jesus was fully God, and being fully God, he knew he could sleep deeply and soundly, for his mission was not going to end with him drowning in the bottom of the sea. It would end on a cross. Knowing this, for the sake of his disciples alone, Jesus calmed the wind and the storm.
“Why are you so afraid?” he said to them. “Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40)
“The antidote to fear is faith,” reads my ESV Study Bible note.
When I feel terrified, when I worry about my bold and adventurous offspring, when I stare into the 3:00 a.m. darkness puzzling over the details of my husband’s retirement, when another vehicle careens toward mine in our ridiculous metropolitan traffic, and when my autoimmune disease gnaws at my bones and the nucleus of each cell, I need not fear.
When I don’t understand the market or the latest Amazon strategy, when I’m puzzled about a particular piece of the publishing process, when I don’t know if I can keep up with all the latest trends in marketing, and when I wonder where my sales are heading, I need not fear.
“When I am afraid, I will trust in You” (Psalm 56:3).
If I had faith like Jesus, I would know in every fiber of my being that nothing can harm me or mine until the day God has ordained that we walk into his presence. I would know in my bones, without any thought otherwise, that each event that touches our lives is ordained by God, orchestrated together for our good. Nothing is outside of God’s providence to work for our good. I would know that this covers my writing journey as well, every single bit of it. But instead, faith isn’t inherent in me, and I must remind myself of the truth frequently.If I had faith like Jesus, I would know in every fiber of my being that nothing can harm me or mine until the day God has ordained that we walk into his presence. Click To Tweet
Recently our pastor stated, “Responding to the unknowns by faith is where the Gospel radically changes our lives.”
It boils down to this: How will we act when we are afraid and when we doubt?
Will we cower in fear? Or will we peacefully keep rowing or bailing or writing, as the boat seems to be sinking, even though Jesus is in the boat?"Faith is a journey of continuing, ascending hilltops. Faith is formed amidst the ongoing race" (Matt Powell). Click To Tweet
“Faith is a journey of continuing, ascending hilltops,” our pastor said. On this journey, we are to keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. “Faith is formed amidst the ongoing race.”
We don’t get to take the Faith Seminar and walk out girded and prepared for the rest of our lives before the Lord turns us loose in the world. No. We must learn this lesson as we run the race, as we sit in the boat, as we send off the query, as we await word from the publisher, and as we watch our sales tank.
Trials that shake us up are one of God’s chief means for perfecting us. Trials allow us to see the true state of our faith, how weak, how strong, how in need of fortification. As a believer, my life should be characterized by faith, not by midnight hand wringings.Our faith is demonstrated by how we choose to act. This requires intentionality. Click To Tweet
Our faith is demonstrated by how we choose to act, what thoughts we choose to censor, what ideas we refuse to allow inside our heads, and how we choose to continue to press forward with the mission the Lord has given us, the mission of writing for him. All of this requires intentionality.
Will we press on in our writing? Will we trust the Lord to help us in the tasks he has given? Will we lay aside fearful lack of faith and trust Jesus?
This piece first appeared on Seriously Write.
Next week I’ll return with fresh new content from Galatians as we continue our journey through the book. I hope you enjoyed revisiting this post from 2019, pre-pandemic.
God bless you and yours, wherever you are and in whatever you’re doing. Peace be with you.
Loved reading this post again, Melinda. Love your pastors statement, “Responding to the unknowns by faith is where the Gospel radically changes our lives.” So powerful and certainly lines up with Scripture. I hope to march onward…write onward in full faith.
Thanks for commenting again on this platform as you did on Seriously Write. Your words are always a blessing, Karen!
I don’t fear death; with doubt that “nothing can harm me or mine until the day God has ordained that we walk into his presence.” I do relate to CS Lewis’s sentiment, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us: we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” How long will we have to deal with the toils of this life before the glorious day we walk into His presence? Lord, help my unbelief and may I trust you for the joy of Your presence along the journey!
Thanks for your encouragement, Melinda!
Suzanne, thanks for mentioning that. I should have fleshed that one out a little fuller. I discussed it in last week’s post: https://melindainman.com/what-is-faith-2/. I meant nothing is outside of God’s providence to work together for our good, and so, therefore, wouldn’t ultimately harm, though it may indeed look like harm. And, hence, the C.S. Lewis quote last week. That balance of wondering how painful the best will turn out to be, while knowing it will be worked together for good, even though it may look or feel like harm, is where we live. But, since God will use it for our good, can it actually be called harm? Thanks for pointing out that I hadn’t quite connected the dots. I wasn’t seeking to promote prosperity theology with that statement.
I didn’t see any deficiency in your explanation, and I’ve never thought you promoted prosperity theology. Just confessing my own weakness. You have been an example of trust and perseverance through many painful things in this life. I appreciate you!
Oh, okay. Thanks! I went back to re-read and realized I’d talked about all of that last week, not in this post, so I added a link. I was afraid I hadn’t been quite clear. I’m with you. Knowing theologically doesn’t always impact my emotions as I wish it did. I should know with rock solid certainty, instead I’m often cringing in anticipation of the next shoe dropping and wondering what it will squish.
Melinda, I love this post. Faith is such a powerful thing, but it is so easy to let doubt creep in. So thankful that God is always faithful, even when we aren’t. And that we can cling to Him, even in our moments of uncertainty. He will never leave our side.
And I’m glad, because we’re often assailed with uncertainties as the waves splash over the railing and soak us. He can cling to me when I don’t have the strength to cling to him. Thank God for that! It’s nice to hear from you, Heather. Glad you’re back!
Faith is such a beautiful comfort when explained in this way. Just beautiful. Thank you for this post, Melinda! May we rest in His power, His grace, His love, His plan for He is a good, good Father. May we fight every battle with this childlike quality. It’s so like God, isn’t it – using a childlike quality to do great things through Him.
Childlike faith. Yes! That’s sometimes so difficult to maintain when we see no way out and life has overthrown us. But he is in the boat, so much at peace that he’s sleeping. That’s the model of trust. I’m glad he walked this earth with us to show us how.
Such a wonderful reminder Melinda. You are so right. Faith is carrying on even when we have no idea what’s going to happen, even if what is in front of us looks dismal. It is doing what God asked simply because He knows what is best. Period.
Yes, and it often boils down to that minimalist decision. This or that? What does God say? That is what we choose to do. Thanks for adding your thoughts here, Brittany!
I think, too, about Peter walking on water. When he began to fear, he took his eyes off of Jesus. Then he began to sink. But Jesus didn’t yell at him or mock him for his lack of faith. He reached out His hand and pulled Peter up. My prayer is that in the midst of any and all fear, I will keep my eyes on my Savior!
Yes! Keeping our eyes on the Savior can be so difficult when the waves splash above eye level! Then, we can hold out our hand, so he can drag us in. Life feels like it’s often spent in this posture. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Emily!
How much of what we do and say is a reflection of our faith? I’d say lots. Our faith, our relationship with God, our understanding of His truth, it all determines our next steps, even our next thoughts. And our decisions…some of them are big – life changing. It’s so good to know we have a God who supports us, guides us, doesn’t quit on us. He is good.
I agree, Stephen. Our faith or lack of faith shows in so many ways — our quickness to seek and to trust the Lord, our prayer life, how quickly we turn toward the Lord during hard times, how tightly we hold onto his promises, how we mourn, our church attendance, etc. So many reactions and words and actions demonstrate our faith or lack thereof.
This is so honest and good. Believers do feel fear and doubt. We are human. It’s what comes next that matters. Can we yank our eyes back to the Lord and off the waves? The answer is we can and He helps us. I love your writing, Melinda!
Pam, thank you so much for your affirming words. Thank the Lord that we have him with us every moment of every day for all of our days! We need him every step along the way!
WOW….This was amazing….Melinda, I really am blown away by this post….felt like it was exactly for me…
Terri, thank you! I’m just writing my own experience, and since all trials and human experiences are common to all humans, I’m glad you could relate and that you found encouragement here!
You’re so right, Melinda, that we can control what we dwell on. God has encouraged me so often by placing scriptures in front of me telling me to Fear not. Our trials grow us into who He wants to make–or they make us bitter and hard, very unlike Him. Our choice.