One of my favorite biblical stories is one where Jesus and the disciples cross from one side of the Sea of Galilee to the other. While Jesus dozes at the back of the boat, a storm blows in. Crashing waves fill the vessel. Fearing for their lives against the whirlwind, the disciples wake Jesus with terse, frantic cries.
In Mark’s story, the disciples do not ask Jesus to change their situation. Instead, their question is an arrow-prayer aimed straight at the heart of their relationship with Jesus: “Don’t you care?” When he finally speaks, Jesus asks: “Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40).
The Greek word for faith, pistis, means to have trust, that is, confidence in the reliability of the one who is trusted. Jesus seems to suggest that the disciples are letting fear get in the way of their ability to trust God, despite all that they have seen and known in their relationship with Jesus: his teaching, his compassion, his mighty deeds of power over anything that separates people from God and one another.
This message is excerpted from “Closer to God,” by Audrey West in the July/August 2018 Gather magazine.
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