23Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26He 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. 27The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27)
In this familiar passage, which often preached in title: ‘Having faith in Jesus while in the midst of big storm?’ To many nations and people, Covid 19 is one of the greatest storms we ever come across in modern history beside the enormous Spanish pandemic 1918-1920 where 500 million were infected and millions of lives were taken away.
It was liken to the immediate situation the disciples were facing in Matthew 8:23-27. This was a furious storm that could wreck the whole boat and kill every single passenger on board. Similarly, the covid 19 pandemic that are already infesting more than 2.5 million people and killing 171, 796 of lives globally recorded on 21 April 2020 with world economy badly hit also simultaneously instill tremendous anxiety, fear and panic in many people.
However, from this bible passage we must not miss two key learning lessons which can be apply profoundly in the midst of facing covid 19 or any furious storm. First, the storm from within (our hearts) is more detrimental than the storm that is external. Human reaction to circumstance tends to come from external. We complain, blame others and allow external crisis to dictate our responses and we failed ending up feeling defeated. Why? Because we failed to recognize, it is the warning storm in our hearts that we must first conquer. Anxiety, fear and panic come from within not external. The disciples allowed the external storm to shake their faith because anxiety, fear and panic that were already from within began to overpower them. They hastily woke Jesus up and crying out to him to save them from drowning. Secondly, crisis does not change a person but rather it reveals the cracking faith foundation one possesses.
Prior, to this passage, in Matthew 8:16, it told us many who were demonized and sick came to see Jesus and he healed all of them. Did the disciples not witness the miracles Jesus performed? What is another storm to Jesus? Yet, the disciple’s hearts reveal their inner storm and the crack of their faith foundation. Their anchoring faith in who Jesus is sadly has not been deeply rooted.
Jesus patiently nudged the disciples and said to them you little faith: (Greek: oligopistos- oligos, “small,” and pistis, “faith,” describing a faith that lacks confidence or trusts too little) and then rebuked the wind and waves demonstrated his divinity and authority. The storm was completely calm. To paraphrase Jesus saying, it could be Jesus saying to them your faith is small because you do not recognize who I am and had not anchor your faith foundation on me? I am the son of God with power and authority and is greater than any furious storm. To be rested in who he is brings faith, hope and love in our lives. Faith in Jesus conquers fear in storm, hope in him brings peace, comfort, future and finally love from him brings assurance of our identity and security as God’s redemptive children.
Questions we need to reflect on. 1. What is the internal storm in your hearts you need to overcome? What is the crack in your faith foundation? Do you trust that Jesus is in control?
Ps David Lim Chin Ann