The disciples should have known better. Granted, they were in the middle of a fierce storm at sea, and the waves were breaking into the boat and filling it. These men, more than a few of whom were fishermen, were no strangers to sailing, but this storm was beyond their expertise. And somehow, through it all, the one person who could do anything about it was sleeping through it all! So they woke Jesus and asked, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” You can almost hear the panic in their voices, the accusatory look in their eyes trying to mask the fear. But they should have known better because, you see, Jesus had already made them a promise.
Luke 8:22 sets the scene for us. “One day He got into a boat with His disciples, and He said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side of the lake.’” Did you catch that? On the surface of it, there’s nothing particularly special about these words. It’s a teacher making a suggestion to his followers. But this is Jesus talking, and His Word has power. It will do what He says. So Jesus isn’t suggesting something. He’s promising them what is going to happen. They are going to the other side of the lake. But in the midst of the storm, the disciples forgot that promise and focused not on the destination but on the obstacles that were in the way. To their credit, they knew whom to ask for help. They prayed to their Savior, and save them He did. But He also chided them for their little faith. “Where is your faith?” He asks them in Luke 8:25, after stilling the wind and waves with His Word. They’d been around Jesus long enough to see countless miracles, to know His teaching, yet still they doubted when faced with danger. How silly.
But how like us.
It’s easy to trust God when things are going well. It’s easy to think we’re in control of our lives when life is humming along as planned. But then disaster strikes, and we suddenly become like those disciples, pointing an accusatory finger at God and asking if He even cares. What do we do when faced with a serious health diagnosis? What about when we lose a job? How about when a virus is raging in our country? Then it’s not so easy to trust that God knows what He’s doing. “Lord, don’t You care that we’re almost out of money to pay for groceries?” It’s much more difficult to cling to God’s promises that He will take care of us when our bank account is perilously low and we have no income to expect in the foreseeable future. It’s all too easy to lose sight of the opposite shore when we’re going through the storm.
This is when we need to turn to the Scriptures to remind ourselves of God’s promises. The disciples had a clear promise for that specific occasion. They were going to the other side. We don’t have that specific a promise for every occasion. We aren’t guaranteed that we won’t get COVID or that we won’t run out of grocery money or that our rent will always get paid on time. The fact is that we live in a sinful and fallen world, when pain and suffering and death is a reality. But Jesus does promise us a far greater destination than crossing a lake—He already has our eternal home prepared.
“In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.”
John 14:2-3 (emphasis added)
Friend, I don’t know what troubles you face today. I don’t know what burdens you carry or what storm you’re weathering. But Jesus knows, and He promises in His Word that nothing can snatch you out of His hand. “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.” The very hands of Jesus that were nailed to the cross for you now hold you safe in His care, in His love, and in His salvation. Don’t fear the storm. Jesus will bring you safely through it to all eternity.