The Opposite of Faith

Mark 4:35-41
35 On that day, when evening came, He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” 36 Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. 37 And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. 38 Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” 39 And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. 40 And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” 41 They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

On it’s own, this story doesn’t have a lot of impact.  Yes, we see Jesus not being bothered by the storm and then rebuking it. But it is a simple story and although Jesus calmed the storm, what is the point of this story? What exactly is Jesus rebuking His disciples about in regard to faith?  In regards to worry, Jesus had this to say in His sermon on the mount in Matthew 6:

[quote]25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.[/quote]

When we focus on the things in this world, we lose sight of God’s Kingdom.  This is why He tells us to seek first His kingdom, because in God’s Kingdom, we are fully taken care of.  The Kingdom of God is a place of refuge, security, and safety.  From the food we eat to the storms we find ourselves in, God is in control.  Whether you live or die, God is in control and if we truly trust in Him, then what is there to worry about?  Jesus exemplified this by being perfectly calm and asleep!  Maybe He was just a heavy sleeper, but I think that the fact that He was resting in the belly of the boat that was taking on water is significant.

Faith is the opposite of fear.  If we have faith in something, we trust in it.  When we go to the bus station, we have faith that eventually a bus is going to show up.  When we sit in a chair, we have faith that it will support our weight.  When we trust in God, we have faith that He will take care of us according to His will.  Our fear challenges this faith.  When we are afraid of something it is because we lack trust of it.  We might not necessarily consider all areas where we lack faith a presence of fear, but it is fear nonetheless.  Maybe we aren’t constantly trembling in emotional fear, but we have distrust in something that causes us to make a decision other than that which would be an example of our trust in it.  If we don’t trust the bus will arrive, we are afraid we will be late and instead take a car.  If we don’t trust that the chair will hold us, we have fear that it will crumble under our weight and instead sit somewhere else or walk away.  If we don’t trust that God loves us and will take care of us, we have fear that He is unreliable and instead rely upon ourselves and others who will always disappoint.  But if we trust in Him for what He says (that He loves us and has our best interest at heart), then there is no need to fear or worry, is there?

It is sad that we have created a religious system around our faith in God.  We have created this set of rules and regulations and expectations that qualify you as worthy or that actually create a sense of fear of God in that we cannot trust Him because we cannot trust ourselves.  If this were true, then He wouldn’t be God; He would be a manmade invention.  He would be no more than the set of rules the Pharisees created in order to pump up their self-righteousness.  Fortunately for us, this isn’t how it works.  We can trust Him for what He says.  This is why it is so crucial for us to continually read the bible and trust Him for what He says in it.  This book is filled with story after story after story through the ages of God saying what will happen and then it happening.  So then why don’t you trust Him?

It’s like having people over the course of time tell us about how wonderful it is to sit in a specific chair.  The question is: will you be bold enough to trust it and take a seat?  Will you trust enough to shift your weight into the chair and be enveloped in its security?  Or will you let your fear direct your decisions and miss out on the most amazing experience you will ever have?  What fears are preventing your faith?  What worries you about trusting God for what He says?

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