Matthew 16:8-12 – ENLARGING MY FAITH
What if we could run with immunity, childlike in the midst of such awesome power, between the huge stuttering shocks roaring challenges that need to be heeded; the intense glimpses of cityscape; the jagged shards of light slicing the sky. What if we could dance with defiance to the frantic rhythm of drum crescendos on the rooves and driveways, sing to the sweeping chorus of wind and play with innocent abandon in the rushing waters and the rain. What if we with faith unyielding on the sea could slip over the barriers of dread and walk where others fear to tread.
(by Ross Cochrane).
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) says “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”
It intrigues me that Jesus commends a Gentile woman for her “great faith” in Matthew 15:28 but of His own disciples He remarks “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH” in the very next chapter (Matthew 16:8). Not good for self-esteem! Jesus calls it like it is, but doesn’t leave me there.
1. WHEN I LACK THE NECESSITIES OF LIFE Jesus says “… if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. WHY DO YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH?” (Matthew 6:30 NLT). When I have seen Him feed the 5000 and then find that I am lacking provision Jesus knows my thoughts and says “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH! Why are you arguing with each other about having no bread?” (Matthew 16:8).
2. WHEN I FACE STORMS and the horizon seems suddenly ravenous and growls out a thunderous warning from it’s billowing clouds; when the storm appears on the horizon as a snarling, rabid dog, hungry to fight, it’s nostrils flared as it lunges and bites; when the devil is in the storm and he is already reaching back with his whip ready to lunge at me again and sink the boat; when I look to Jesus but He is asleep, peaceful and undisturbed! (Can’t He at least tarry with me until the storm overtakes me?) In the midst of the storm, that’s when my frantic cries wake Him, and He is positively puzzled as He looks up at my face. He says, “Why are you afraid? YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH!” As if it is up to me!
He hardly notices the wave that is about to swamp us coming up from behind Him … but the sky seemed to gasp as He turns and I hear a sudden guttural roar; the sound of a lion recoiling from a spear; astonished as it penetrates it’s heart. The blood begins to drain from my face as I see for a moment the assurance of Jesus gaze and then the stern censure of His voice as He rebukes the wind and waves, …
… and suddenly all is calm. A chill runs up and down my spine. I am astonished. “Who is this man? Even the winds and waves obey Him!” And that’s when my faith is enlarged.
3. IN THE MIDDLE OF MY DOUBTS AND PRESUMPTIONS (Mt. 14:31); when faith is flickering but I feel the breath of Jesus blowing on the embers; when Jesus is not asleep in the boat but walking on the storm and about to pass me by, that’s when, like Peter, I blurt out “Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You, walking on the water.” And in a moment of worship, split from time, fear of the storm recedes, and I stand in awe of God’s presence. It’s a question of “Where is the safest place to be. In the boat or with Jesus.” That’s when my faith grows.
“Yes, come,” Jesus says. So I step into the unknown, over the side of the boat and walk on the water toward Jesus (Matthew 14:29). At first there is a mixture of doubt and impulsive presumption, but doubt transformed into faith allows me to accomplish the impossible. Impulsive presumption transformed into trust allowed me to be a part of the miracle. I am no longer frantically rowing in circles in the midst of an unresolved storm. “Yes, come”, He says and although it involves a miracle, He gives me the power I need to step out in faith (Matthew 14:29).
That’s when I realise that I am walking on a storm and once again I hear the whistling wind and falter on the waves; I am terrified and begin to sink. “Save me, Lord!” I shout. “YOU HAVE SO LITTLE FAITH,” He says as He takes my hand. “Why did you doubt Me?” In the aftermath of the storm, as I walk with Him through a wondrous array of wildflowers, He reminds me that when I trust more, I sink less, and that’s when my faith is enlarged.