Faith in the Storm
The Lord Jesus had just finished feeding a multitude of people numbered of 5,000 men beside women and children. Immediately following this miracle he constrains His disciples to get into a boat and voyage to the other side while He would stay and dismiss the people. The Lord was sending them directly into a storm which He knew would come to teach these men in their spiritual walk. He has complete control over the storm and allows this for God’s divine purpose. The disciples of Jesus had allowed their hearts to become callous and they had not considered this miracle of the loaves (Mark 6:52).
The Lord Jesus went out alone into a mountain for the express purpose of praying. It would do every believer well to emulate their Lord as He disciplined Himself to have time alone with His Father. He prays even while a great storm arises out on the lake. The disciples now find themselves in the midst of a contrary wind and wave storm.
In the fourth watch of the night Jesus leaves the mountain where He was communing with His Father and comes to His disciples. The same can be true of the Lord Jesus with His disciples today. He will not leave us comfortless; He will come to us. The comfort for the disciple of Christ is found in the presence of Jesus Christ with Him in the storm. No matter how contrary the storm, with Christ in the vessel, we can smile at the storm. The believer has the indwelling Spirit of God, who will never leave him. In the storms of life He is the great comforter to stay alongside of us and remind us of the truths of the Word of God.
Jesus speaks words of Cheer to His disciples who were crying out in fear. He tells them that they can, “Be of good cheer.” To every disciple of Christ, we can be of good cheer in the storm. Christ is with us. Because of His presence with us and His providence over the storm, we have nothing to fear. Jesus commands His disciples, “Be not afraid.” As human beings we all have tendency and temptation to be fearful in the midst of day to day circumstances. We must hear the voice of the Lord Jesus to us, reminding us that He is there and that He is in control. He desires that we fear not, by exercising our faith.
Peter who is a leader of these disciples cries out to Jesus. Some lessons about our faith can be learned by this miraculous occurrence.
Peter Asks of Jesus: Peter hears the voice of his master and asks for the Lord to ask him to come to Him. Peter makes a conditional statement, “If it be you.” Jesus had already just finished saying, “It is I.” Sometimes in the flesh we can be tempted to test the promise of God’s Word rather than just simply trusting it. The flesh wants to have evidential proofs. Peter did not readily believe the word of Jesus, It is I. He put a condition on the response, If it be thou. “I know what you said Lord, but if it really be, let me come to thee.” Peter did have enough faith to believe that he could ask the Lord for such a miracle as walking on water. We can wonder how many followers of Christ today would have exhibited this same faith? The Lord graciously responds with an invitation for Peter to come to Him. The Lord never refused the desire of one to come to Him. It is vital to our faith that we believe the Word of God without any conditions. We must learn to exercise our faith without needing any more proofs then the Word of Jesus. Peter wanted to be with His Lord, thus he asked that he might come to Him.
Peter Acts upon the Invitation of Jesus: Jesus invites Peter to come to Him. Peter hears the voice of Jesus inviting him to Jesus and He immediately comes down out of the boat to go to Jesus. We can imagine what it was like to step out of the boat onto waves that were tossing the boat back and forth, beating into the ship. Peter stepped out in faith upon the simple word of the Lord Jesus, come. No matter what the circumstances around us and the difficulties that seem to make stepping out by faith on the Word of God foolishness or irrational, faith steps out onto the sea, let’s go of the security of the boat, and walks away from the boat toward the Lord. Peter had that distinct privilege of walking on water. Faith is taking that step trusting that the Lord’s promise will keep you on top of the water. When Peter stepped in faith he found that the water kept holding him up. In the same way as a believer we must step in faith and find that the promises of God remain faithful because God is faithful to His Word.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:23
Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. I Thessalonians 5:24
It is the faithfulness of Who Jesus Christ is, God that is the stability of our faith. Faith rests confident upon the Word of God and takes steps accordingly.
It is this same invitation word that many have heard to step out and come to Jesus by faith for the salvation of their soul. It is this same invitation word that many believers continue to hear as their Lord graciously calls them back to an obedient walk of faith.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18
Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17
Whenever a soul hears the Lord’s invitation to come to Him, that soul must step out in faith and come to the Lord.
Peter is Afraid. How quickly the faith of a disciples can depart into unbelief. How easy for a follower of Christ to give place to fear. The flesh is still alive and well. The greatest disciples who are in the middle of walking by faith can easily give way to doubt. Peter begins to look at the storm and human reasoning began to cause him to panic. When walking by faith we cannot look at the storm but stay focused upon the Word of God both written and living. We must focus upon the promise and presence of the Saviour. The opposite of faith is unbelief; doubt. The lack of trust brought turmoil and terror as Peter shrieked out for help. Unbelief and doubt manifest themselves in fear. It is little faith that gives place to fear.
Peter is Aided by the Saviour. The Lord knows the infirmity of the flesh and He knoweth our frame. He immediately intervenes when Peter began to sink into the sea. Peter perceived himself to be sinking and he was upon the failure to exercise his faith. He cried out for salvation as he thought that he would physically perish in the sea. The Lord was in control of the storm and could have stopped it, but He allowed the waves to reveal to Peter his lack of trust. Waves are a good faith test. No matter what the perception in our lives we must implicitly trust the Word of God. Peter now calls upon the Saviour without verbosity. Note the Promptness of the Saviour—the deliverance was immediate. Note the Proximity of the Saviour-He was at arm’s reach. In the storm of life, the Lord is only an arm’s reach from any drowning sinner or doubting saint. Jesus Christ is there.
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Isaiah 55:6
Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Jeremiah 23:23
But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; Romans 10:8
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13
Note the Possession of the Saviour. Peter was caught in the Lord’s hands. We as believers are in the Lord’s hands and it would do us well to remember this truth. For every sinner who calls upon the Lord in repentance and faith, they will find that they are delivered, rescued immediately by the hands of the Saviour. For every doubting believer they will find that the Lord is there and His arms will hold them up. Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
Peter is Admonished by the Saviour. The Lord gives Peter a loving, kind, gentle reproof as they are out on the waves in this storm. This is to reveal to Peter his faith. He has faith. He has proper placement of his faith. He has yet little faith. Little faith has not grown by testing to be strong and large. Even a mature believer can fall prey to the temptation to be weak in faith. Abraham serves as an example of weak faith and strong faith. Romans 4:18-21 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.
God’s people must exercise their faith upon the Word of God and not give place to the temptation of the devil to doubt, nor the tendency of the flesh to doubt. The flesh loves to be in control thus it walks by the sight of the eyes. The Spirit must be in control of our lives therefore we must believe and walk by faith by obedience to the Word of God. We must simply cast ourselves upon the promise of the Word of God and find that those who put their trust in the Lord and lean upon Him will never be ashamed. They will never find their confidence in the Saviour a faulty confidence. Faith is only as strong as the object that it is placed in. Peter’s little faith, fears, and doubts were all for naught.
Matthew 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
As God’s children let us be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Let us not exhibit fleshly doubt but spirit filled faith. Would the Lord have let Peter drown when He had invited him to come to Himself? Don’t give way to fleshly reasoning and devilish deceptions even in the midst of the waves. Let us remember the person, promise, and presence of the Saviour. Just trust the Lord in the storm. “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”