O You of Big Faith
Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (Mark 4:9)
Times of trouble can offer us learning opportunities. But it’s only when we’re really tuned-in, seeking, and receptive to understanding our shocking circumstances. It’s then that our ears are primed for hearing.
This was the case on that day Jesus and the twelve were out on the Sea of Galilee when a violent storm arose. I’ve never been to the Holy Land, but I have heard from those who have and from reading different accounts that storms such as this aren’t all that uncommon.
The account in the later portion of Mark 8 tells us that Jesus was asleep in the stern (rear) of the boat, perhaps tired from ministering to the needs of the multitudes who always sought Him out. The storm came upon them suddenly and violently enough that the disciples were filled with the fear that they would capsize and be drowned. They woke Jesus and rebuked Him for not caring about them. I feel the need to say this again: They rebuked Jesus. Let that sink in a little. “Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin, how shall my tongue describe it? Where shall its praise begin… ”*
I wonder if we ever do that…either in words or attitude (or both) insist that GOD doesn’t care about us…because if He did how could He let us be in such a raging storm? But I digress.
Jesus gets up (I can almost see Him yawning and stretching); He stills the storm, and then He delivers the line: “Why are you so fearful, O you of little faith?” Notice that he didn’t say, “O you of no faith.” He wasn’t challenging them because they didn’t have faith; His challenge was because of all that they had previously witnessed in Him, all that they had experienced with Him. Still, their faith was fit only for sunny days with clear skies. A little bit of faith can work well on sunny, clear sky days. But when the strong winds are trying to blow us off of our mark; when the threatening waves are crashing about us and we see no end, little faith is not enough. Big faith is needed.
I recall seeing, on a documentary, Bill Parcells (former NFL, Super Bowl winning coach) challenge his players during the heat of a game, saying along the lines of “That’s why we have training camp, and practice and do all those drills; that’s why you lift all of those weights…for times like this!” We can say the same: That’s why, for years, we’ve had Bible studies and small groups and prayer groups and youth and children’s ministries; that’s why we preach and teach and disciple…for times like this!
Do you have ears to hear? We didn’t see this storm we’re in coming; and it is serious and scary. But we can also have the stillness of peace in our hearts through a faith big enough to keep us afloat, O You of Big Faith.
* “Wonderful Grace of Jesus,” by Haldor Lillenas (1918). In the public domain.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2020. All rights reserved to original text content.
Take a look at my “Thoughts of Others” page for some inspirational and thought-provoking words.