Over the course of our life, there will be threatening times when we find ourselves seriously needing God’s intervention and help. Over the course of our life, we will face threatening situations that have us seriously concerned about our well-being or even our survival. And, in these threatening times and situations, God requires that we have faith in Him!
Let’s have a look at what the Bible tells us…
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? — Mark 4:37-40
As we just read in these scriptures, the Disciples were facing a very real and a very serious situation…one that was in fact life-threatening. The great storm they were in had filled their ship so full of water that it was in imminent danger of sinking…which in turn meant they were in imminent danger of drowning.
It was at this juncture that the Disciplines…in fear and in frustration…turned to Jesus and asked Him if He even cared that they were about to die. Interestingly, Jesus responded to their question with His own question: “Why are you so afraid and how come you have no faith?”
Now, before we criticize and condemn the Disciples, let’s consider ourselves.
When our circumstances are not what we want them to be…
When we are in a situation that is not going the way we want it to go…
When we have an important need that continues to go unmet…
When we are feeling intense pressure…
When we are facing an urgent crisis…
When a serious prayer goes unanswered…
Our thoughts…and perhaps even our statements…often begin to sound something like this:
“Lord, I know that You can see I have a serious and immediate need…but you aren’t doing anything to help me. Why won’t you help me? Do You even care about me? Are You just going to let me go under?”
But on the other side of whatever we are afraid of and troubled by…on the other side of whatever we feel threatened by…God is asking us:
“My child, why are you so afraid? Why do you doubt so much? Where is your faith and confidence in Me? And, why do you place so much emphasis and value on temporal things and so little emphasis and value on a spiritual connection with Me?”
Over and over, the Bible admonishes us to trust in God and to have faith in Him:
- “Fear not…I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” — Genesis 15:1
- “Be strong, fear not. God…will come and save you.” — Isaiah 35:4
- “Fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong.” — Daniel 10:19
- “Trust in him at all times.” — Psalms 62:8
- “Be not faithless, but believing.” — John 20:27
- “Have faith in God.” — Mark 11:22
- “[Stagger] not at the promise of God through unbelief; but [be] strong in faith, giving glory to God.” — Romans 4:20
And in fact, the Bible goes so far as to tell us this:
- “But without faith, it is impossible to please [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” — Hebrews 11:6
But, when something important to us is not the way we want it to be…when it appears that our needs are not going to be met…when we find ourselves in a threatening situation…then too often we can be accurately described like this:
- “O faithless generation.” — Mark 9:19
- “O ye of little faith.” — Luke 12:28, Matthew 6:30, Matthew 16:8
- “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” — Matthew 14:31
- “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” — Mark 4:40
- “Where is your faith?” — Luke 8:25
- “For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his wondrous works.” — Psalms 78:32
- “They believed not his word.” — Psalms 106:24
- “And the Lord said…how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?” — Numbers 14:11
- “And [Jesus] marvelled because of their unbelief.” — Mark 6:6
Now, there are many different situations and scenarios that can trouble us and magnify our doubt. But generally speaking, the five scenarios that most quickly fill us with doubt and move us into questioning God’s care and love for us…or that move us into frustration and anger at God for not helping us more quickly are:
- Health problems.
- Financial problems.
- Problems with a loved one.
- Crisis situations.
- Unfulfilled desires.
Interestingly, in one variation after another…in one incident after another…all five of these scenarios are repeatedly described and addressed throughout the Bible. Over and over, the Bible instructs us to have trust, confidence, and faith in God even when we are in one of these five scenarios.
Now, here is the thing the thing about faith that we must fully understand and accept:
Having faith in God does NOT mean that trouble will never touch us, affect us, or impact us.
In Chapter 6 of the book of Daniel…we can read that Daniel’s faith in God did not exempt him from getting thrown in the lion’s den.
Likewise, in Daniel chapter 3, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were being threatened by the world’s most powerful ruler…the sweat was rolling down their forehead from the heat of the nearby furnace…and yet, as great as their allegiance to God was…as great as their confidence and faith in God was…they were not exempted from being thrown into that fiery furnace.
If we read about the Children of Israel in the wilderness, we find that ultimately God always provided them with the water they required for survival. But, there were times when He expected them to be okay with not having any water and being thirsty until He provided them with their necessary water.
If we go back to our initial scriptures in Mark 4 where the Disciples are in a great storm, Jesus shows us what true faith in God looks like:
- True faith is okay with being hurled about by the storm.
- True faith is okay with getting soaked.
- True faith is okay with storm waters continuing to rise, even when they are creeping up around our ears and our nose.
- No matter what is going on…no matter how loud the thunder…no matter how close the lightning strikes…no matter how hard the wind blows…no matter how wet we get…true faith is at rest and at peace.
So, as we can see, having true faith in God means:
- Continuing to trust in Him…
- Continuing to have confidence in Him…
- Continuing to be sold-out and committed to Him…
- Resting in Him…
- Being at peace in Him…
…EVEN WHEN our problems are affecting and impacting us physically and temporally…EVEN WHEN our troubles are threatening our well-being…EVEN WHEN it appears…that is, when all observable and tangible evidence indicates…that our survival is in dire jeopardy.
Of course, when things are going well for us, this kind of faith is relatively easy for us to grasp intellectually…it is even easy for us to imagine ourselves exercising this kind of faith in an imaginary threatening situation.
But, when threatening times and situations actually come to us in real life…well, then it is a different story…then it is easy for us to lose our faith in God…and to be emotionally filled with doubt, fear, and dread.
But, it is precisely in those threatening times and situations that God requires us to have faith in Him.
Referencing back to Mark 6:6, when troubled times and threatening situations arise in our life, will the Lord marvel at us for our faith…or will he marvel at us for our unbelief?
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, when troubled times come our way…when we find ourselves in threatening circumstances…let’s do our best to please God with our faith, trust, and confidence in Him.
Let’s do our best to be one of those remarkable individuals whose faith in God invokes admiration in the Lord towards us…as described in these verses:
- “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” — Matthew 8:10
- “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” — Matthew 15:28
This is what it really boils down to: when we have a spiritual love and admiration for the Lord…as well as a spiritual connection…that transcends all physical and temporal things…then we have a real “relationship” with the Lord…and when we have a real relationship with the Lord…then there is a corresponding “faith” in place that frees us from all worry and concern over our physical and temporal needs…because we KNOW that God WILL take care of them in one way or another.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. — Matthew 6:33