WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?
Luke 8:22 25
An atomic scientist, Dr. Harold C. Urrey, spoke for modern man when he said, "I am a frightened man." We have
made the Greek word for fear a basic part of our vocabulary. It is our word ''phobia'' fear.
Our Lord allowed His disciples to encounter a fear-provoking circumstance to teach them a great lesson. It
happened on the familiar waters of the Sea of Galilee. These waters were very familiar to many of the group since
they had grown up in Galilee, and some of them had made their living fishing these waters. Yet as they sailed over
the little lake on this occasion, they found themselves confronted with a dangerous situaČtion. A storm came down
the mountainside across the lake, and made sailing impossible. Because He was weary from the burdens of the
day, Jesus was asleep in the front of the ship. The waves began to fill the boat with water and it appeared that they
were in danger of sinking at any moment. The fear of the disciples became such that they awakened Jesus saying,
"Master, Master, we are perishing!''
in response to the storm and his disciples, Jesus spoke to both storms. He spoke to the storm in nature with a word
of rebuke. He spoke to the storm in the heart of his disciples with a word of rebuke and encouragement. In Luke's
account He simply asked the question, "Where is your faith?" In the parallel accounts we learn that He also asked
about their fear. The lesson is clear, if you have faith, you do not have fear. But if you have fear, you do not have
faith. There are two great lessons to be learned here.
I. FAITH DOES NOT PREVENT THE STORMS OF LIFE.
We must be clear about the purpose of this question. Jesus is not holding His disciples responsible for the storm.
He is holding them responsible for their response to the storm. They have given in to a very human fear. They
were actually afraid they were going to die.
This brings up an interesting question. Who was responsible for the storm that beset the disciples? Scholars are
not agreed about this specific incident, but there are only two possibilities.
A. The enemy causes storms.
Some believe that Satan was actually responsible for this storm. They remind us that he is the "prince of the power
of the air." They interpret this to be an open attempt on the life of Jesus and His disciples. If he could cause the
ship to sink, sending to the bottom Jesus and the twelve, he would make an effective end to the mission of Jesus
Christ. What I know about the devil would incline me to believe this. I do know that he makes it his nasty business
to make it as hard as possible on those who are committed to God. You do remember the experience of Job!
The enemy can stir up storms around your life. He can bring you under severe attack. Your faith in God will not
prevent these attacks from the enemy, but may rather attract them. Job would probably have never gone through
the storm if he had not been such an outstanding man of faith. The enemy seems to have picked out the most
effective of the Apostles, Simon Peter, for some special storms. So when the storms come, you are not to conclude
that your faith has failed, but rather that it is being tried.
B. The Lord may also stir up some storms.
Ultimately we must know that no storm ever comes against us without divine permission. Even the enemy works
within limitations imposed by the loving will of God. He always has the last word. But it may well be that this storm
that beset the disciples was nothing more than a normal part of the weather pattern in the area. God has set us in
a world which works by certain laws of nature. Sometimes they may confront us with the storms of trial.
But when the Lord God allows us to confront a fear provoking circumstances, it is not a sign that our faith has
failed. Jesus does not say, "Where is your faith?" because the storms come. You cannot prevent the storms
coming by faith, but you can prevent them from destroying you. Your faith may not be able to keep you from
confronting an economic storm, a vocational storm, a physical storm, a spiritual storm, or even a marital storm.
Faith makes it difference in how you deal with the storm.
II. FAITH DOES PREVENT FEAR.
This is the great lesson that we are to learn here. The disciples were frightened by the threatening circumstances,
but they should not have been. This prompted Jesus to ask the question, "Where is your faith?" If faith had filled
their hearts, things would have been different.
A. Fear is a sign of a failure of faith.
It must be admitted that what happened to this group of disciples was a very natural thing. Any ordinary human
being would have been frightened by the storm and the danger of sinking to the bottom of the Sea of Galilee.
Their response was very natural. However, this little group of men was not supposed to be just natural men. They
knew Jesus Christ, and in fact, had Him on board the ship. They should have been able to go through a storm like
this unruffled by fear.
Every adult in this room and most young people have known fear at one time or another. It may have been the fear
of failure. It may have been the fear of death. It may have been the fear of losing our job. It may have been the
fear of rejection by someone who was very important to us. Just to mention the word fear is to bring some strange
emotions surging through my body. I feel a strange tightness in my chest. I feel a tightening of the muscles of my
body. My stomach begins to react in a strange way. But in this question Jesus lays the blame for fear squarely on
my lack of faith.
The fear does not come from the circumstances, but rather comes from me.
Many of us are very successful at hiding our fears for a while. We hide them underneath outward expressions of
courage. We hide them beneath doubled activities. We hide them behind empty words of confidence. But sooner
or later they will surface. They may surface in health problems, or emotional problems, but hey will surface. Fear is
caused by the failure of faith.
B. The faith that prevents fear just rests in Jesus.
This is what Jesus wanted from this group of disciples. He wanted them to depend upon Him in this dangerous
circumstance. He was not calling attention to the adequacy of faith, but rather to His own adequacy to handle
whatever situation that may arise. We need to learn this desperately.
Faith is resting in the Person of Christ. Did not these disciples know who He was? He had given them so many
indications of His identity. Did they really think that the Son of God would be swallowed up in a little storm on the
Sea of Galilee? It was a rebuke to their unbelief when He spoke to the storm and it quieted down like spoiled child.
It lay down at His feet in quietness at His word. They responded with awe and asked, "What kind of a man is this?
For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey him!''
We know Jesus Christ, but do we really know who He is? Have we committed ourselves to One who cannot handle
the crises of life that come to us? Indeed, He is the Lord of history. He is the Almighty Son of the living God. He is
able to subdue all things to Himself. Faith relies upon who He is.
Faith is resting in the Promise of Christ. The disciples missed it. When Jesus said, "Let us go over to the other side
of the lake." it included a promise. His command is His promise. What He commands He enables. They should
have understood that it was His responsibility to get them to the other side. Why fear ... He will do what He has said
he will do.
Faith makes much of His promises, but fear forgets them. Faith remembers that
He said, "Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." If He is with us, why should we be afraid? Do
you feel forsaken? If you are His child, you are not forsaken. He never breaks a promise.
Faith is resting on the performance of Christ. To this point the disciples had not faced a situation in which Jesus
was not the Master. Did this not encourage them to believe that all was well now? We have such an advantage
over them. We have three books that remind us of His performance. We have the Bible, the complete story of His
revelation of His faithfulness and sufficiency. Oh, how the reading of the Bible encourages faith. We have Christian
history. The last two thousand years have been filled with testimonies concerning the faithfulness and adequacy of
Christ. Then, we have the book of our own experience. I can surely read the record of my own life and find a basis
for encouragement now. Jesus is adequate for whatever life might bring, why should I be afraid? My faith can't
handle the storms, but He can do so if I trust in Him.
Are you living by your fears or by your faith? Many of you are dominated by your fears. Jesus asks you, "Where is
your faith?" It is an offer on His part to be the object of your faith. It is an invitation to cast all your care upon Him
for He cares for you. Won't you do that right now?