Matthew 8: 24. Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
25. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”
26. He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?”
In the moments before I get fully awake in the morning, while still laying in bed, intentions crowd my mind. I feel all right. I will double my exercises today! I will practice walking the whole length of the house several times before breakfast!
Then I try to sit up and swing my feet over the edge of the bed. Instantly my head is spinning again. I feel the moan strangling in my mouth, choked by my sluggish tongue and lips. I can’t understand my own words.
One morning as I sat there, trying to regain a sense of balance, a question crossed my mind. Am I focusing on the wrong thing? Am I expecting my natural senses to interpret my situation correctly? Shouldn’t I be checking first and primarily what my heart and spirit can tell me?
Please don’t assume I’ve got this theology straight. Every part of me has been wobbly for quite awhile now. I’m just chewing on my question a bit.
I thought about the disciples on the lake that day. I thought about the focus they had on events and the focus Jesus had.
Some of those disciples were professional fishermen. They knew the rules of safe boating. That included the knowledge that, in the middle of a storm, the middle of the lake was not a good place to be.
There’s no suggestion that Jesus didn’t see the storm. He didn’t deny it was there. He saw what the disciples saw. But he also noticed something was missing. Because the disciples were only focusing on the storm, their conclusion was based only on that fact. How could Jesus or anyone stay calm enough to go to sleep just then? Certainly, the disciples would have known the Psalmist’s declaration:
Psalm 121:3. He who watches over you will not slumber;
4. indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
But Jesus was asleep. And he certainly had no trouble stopping the storm once he got up. What made it possible? Was he showing us the difference it makes to include faith in our focus? Without faith, we slide into fear. With faith properly placed in our Heavenly Father, it’s safe to sleep through the storm. It’s a question of focus.
Later, Jesus would calmly inform his disciples that, in this life, we would have tribulations. Paul would make a list of them.
“We are afflicted in every way, but…[ESV]
“Struck down but…
“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that…”
And then he drew our focus to the rest of the picture, the rest of the reality.
II Corinthians 4: 8. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9. persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. [NIV]
Why am I so afraid, so often? Maybe because I’ve lost focus.