Having faith in God does not make us immune to adversity. We can’t control what happens to us, but we can build our faith to remain grounded when the storms of life hit. Your storm may come in the form of a broken relationship or a financial burden, or maybe it’s an unexpected diagnosis.
I believe God’s word, aka the Bible, gives us all we need to overcome disappointment and adversity in this life.
Today I want to talk about trust. Trust is key in any relationship and it’s crucial to faith. Faith and trust are inseparable. Faith is the trust that what God has said, He will do. To separate one from the other will cause a complete collapse of faith in our life.
In Matthew 14 Jesus sends the disciples away while He remains to dismiss the crowds. To me, dismissing the crowds seems like a task better suited for the disciples, not the Son of God. But there was something about the crowds that concerned Jesus.
Jesus knew what His followers could handle and what they could not handle. The disciples may think they can handle what Jesus doesn’t think they can handle, but they can’t handle it.
God may choose to shield us from opportunities or experiences that we are not prepared for, even though we think we are ready.
- Everything God keeps from you is for your good.
- Anything God permits in your life is to refine you.
So, don’t force the issue. Trust God’s judgment and timing.
Jesus deals with the crowds because they want to make Him a king. They see Him as a revolutionary who is gaining momentum and could lead a revolt against the Roman empire.
The crowd’s thinking could pollute the emotions of the disciples and plant ideas in their heads that would be counter-intuitive. Furthermore, Jesus doesn’t hesitate to deny the crowd’s request nor influenced by their proposal because He knows who He is and what His purpose is.
Be aware when people press you to be what they want you to be. You were made by God for a purpose. Know your purpose!
Now back to the disciples. As they are headed across the lake at nighttime, suddenly the wind and waves begin to impede their progress.
I have lived long enough to see this as a regular pattern in life. Forward progress is often met with resistance. If we are not experiencing resistance, we may not be moving forward.
Storms are unavoidable, but God redeems the storms by using them to build our faith and trust.
Opposition presents opportunities for you and me to build our trust in God. Trust is only developed in moments when God’s trustworthiness is challenged. Don’t run from the moments where God is refining and building your trust and faith in Him.
At this moment, the emotions of these guys in the boat are maxed out, as they see what appears to be a ghost coming near them on the water. As they are crying out in fear (literally), Jesus says, “Take Heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Fear is an involuntary biological response as our body releases chemicals that sets off a chain reaction our emotions interpret as fear.
The word afraid in Matthew 14:27 means “to cause to run away, to withdraw.” Jesus isn’t rebuking the disciples for being afraid but encouraging them not to withdraw from faith or run from Him because of fear.
Now the English translation doesn’t capture the full effect of Jesus’ statement. The phrase, “it is I,” in the Greek is the equivalent of the Hebrew name of God, “I Am.” Jesus’ command to “take heart” is based on the fact that the great “I Am,” is with them.
The greatest obstacle to faith and trust is not our limited understanding or time served but in trusting what we see more than what God says.
- “For we live by faith, not by sight.” (ESV)
- “For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (NLT) 2 Corinthians 5:7
When we remove trust from the equation of faith, faith becomes ineffective. The storms in life are not evidence that faith is powerless but is the reason why faith in God is necessary.
Storms are unavoidable. So, if you have to go through them, it’s best to go through them with the One who can sustain you in the midst of it all!
My prayer for you is that when forward progress is met with opposition, that you will continue to move forward and find peace as you keep your trust in God!
Thanks Michael. This is an area of focus for me in regular intervals. There are prices to our wants and desires, if we are to follow our amazing God. He never wastes our experiences, and the inevitable trials for us all, are effective training tools in love and trust of Him. Blessings!
Great perspective Jacquie! Thanks for sharing. Anything we have to sacrifice in following God is truly no sacrifice compared to what we gain through following Him! Have a blessed week!
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