In Capernaum, Jesus spent time at the home of Peter. First, he healed Peter’s mother-in-law, who was sick with fever, and then, that evening, many people who were either sick or oppressed by demons were brought to Him. Jesus cast out the demons with a word and healed all of those who were sick (Matthew 8:14-16). He then got into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee and the disciples joined Him (Matthew 14:23).
No sooner did they set sail than a great storm arose. The winds blew, the rain fell, and the boat was tossed around on the waves. The waves were so bad that they swamped the boat. While all this was happening, Jesus lay sound asleep on a cushion in the stern of the boat. The disciples, on the other hand, were in a state of panic. They feared for their lives. They were going to perish while Jesus lay there sleeping. They shook Jesus awake. “Lord! Wake up! You have to save us or we’re done for!” (Matthew 8:24-25).
Jesus calmly got up from His sleep and took a look around Him at this fierce storm. He rebuked the winds and the waves and the storm instantly ceased. He then turned to His disciples and responded to their doubt that God would take care of them by giving them a little rebuking of their own. “What were you afraid of, o you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26) These disciples had just seen Jesus heal many who were sick and drive out demons with just a word and yet, they did not have enough faith to know that because Jesus was with them, they did not have any reason to fear.
In direct contrast to the disciples’ lack of faith, just a day or so before this, Jesus had encountered the Roman centurion whose faith was so strong that he believed that Jesus did not need to come to his house to heal his servant. He had heard of the things that Jesus had done, and he believed that Jesus only needed to speak a word and the servant would be healed. As followers of Christ, when we are faced with storms in our lives, who are we more like? The doubting disciples or the believing centurion?
When facing storms in my own life, there have been times when I have been like the centurion. I knew I had Jesus in my life and I knew that He had brought me safely through the storms. But, I need to be completely honest here. There have also been many times when I have doubted. Despite the fact that I had seen Jesus’ hand in my life before, I hit the panic button just like the disciples did in that storm-tossed boat. But, the wonderful thing about out Lord and Savior is that, despite our doubt, He still calms our storms, just like He calmed that storm on the Sea of Galilee. It’s at those times that we need to say, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)