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For Your Weekend: When Our Faith Takes A Dive

Jeannine Yousif

Dig Deeper into Sunday’s Gospel: Read Mark 4:35–41

Nothing inspires an instant response of gratitude in me more than immersing myself in God’s creation. Basking in His glory comes easy to me when wandering in a field of wildflowers, enjoying the shade of a tree, or savoring the radiant hues of a sunset. I delight in His divine order as the sounds of the ocean soothe me. I wonder at His attention to detail when watching the variety of birds come and go in my backyard. 

Conversely, I’m less than appreciative of His creation and am hard-pressed to find His glory when driving through a violent thunderstorm or rousing my children to the basement to wait out a tornado warning. I am less inclined to offer praise or feel His presence, however much I’m invoking His name (usually not in the kindest manner), as I strain to pull the stubborn thistle weeds out of my garden. 

When things are going well, it’s easy to notice God’s hand in our lives, feel His presence, praise His name, proclaim our faith, obey His will, and confidently follow His lead. 

How quickly we turn to doubt, fear, or anger when things do not go our way, when our prayers remain unanswered, or when we find ourselves in a season of suffering. How easy it becomes to believe the cacophony of lies that swirl amid the surge and torrent of the storm. I must not matter. God doesn’t care. He doesn’t show up when I need Him. 

Before we proclaim mutiny or abandon ship, let’s attend to the wisdom our Lord offers us in this Sunday’s gospel. 

Jesus asks, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mark 4:40).

The disciples were in the middle of an unexpected and violent storm on the Sea of Galilee. I doubt they were praising the Lord and basking in His creation as they fought to retain control of their boat. As powerful winds and waves broke over the edge, taking water in, the men feared death looming in the dark abyss. Jesus’ peaceful and untroubled sleep only distressed the men further. “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).

How quick the disciples were to forget who was resting in the stern of their boat, doubt Jesus’ concern for them, assume His indifference, and throw their faith overboard. They, indeed, were in peril. At that moment, humanity was losing to the strength of nature. Only a divine authority, “mightier than the thunders of many waters, mightier than the waves of the sea” (Psalm 93:4), only the One who “rule[s] the raging of the sea” (Psalm 89:9), only the Almighty could command “the storm be still, and the waves of the sea [hush]” (Psalm 107:29).

Like the disciples in the storm, as our emotions surge, so do our doubts. We question the Lord’s authority and doubt His power and providence. Felled by our fears, spiritual amnesia eagerly sets in. We forget who He is, we forget who we are to Him, and we fail to remember all He has promised and all He has done for us. In the face of terror, our faith wanes. Instead of leaning closer to God, we turn away, trying, in vain, to be our own life preserver, our own savior. 

But Jesus asks, “My daughter, why won’t you have faith in Me?” 

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Saint Paul reminds us that only faith in Jesus will give us unshakeable confidence, the kind that can weather any storm. Though we cannot see Jesus with us physically, our Lord promises us that we are never alone. 

Do we stand confidently in our boat amidst the storm's boisterous winds and forceful waves, clinging to Jesus, or are we clinging to ourselves? 

Do we believe Jesus is more powerful than our emotions, which knock us off course and off balance and blind us to our north star?

Are we drifting aimlessly about, at the mercy of the wind or wave? Or are we hitching our anchor to Jesus, who is sure and steady? Do we trust and have faith that He will never steer us off course nor allow us to succumb to the darkness below?

Look at your life preserver, my friend. Is it Jesus, or is it you? He preserves and sustains us for eternal life. In our own strength, we can barely stay afloat. 

So what can we do when our faith weakens and wilts in the face of a storm, injustice, or trial? 

We switch out our own life preservers and instead clothe ourselves in His righteousness. We preserve our eternal lives by getting our noses in Scripture. Reading and studying the Word of God enlighten our intellect to who Jesus is, who He says we are, and His faithfulness to us (He never breaks a promise!).

We shore up any cracks or holes in our boat by running to Reconciliation, accepting grace, and confessing those times when we were perhaps more mutinous than faithful. 

We secure and batten down the hatches by receiving the Eucharist often, filling up on the supernatural grace Jesus offers to us that nourishes and strengthens our will to choose faith over fear again and again.

We will indeed be tested, shaken, and may even sway under the weight of the world’s turmoil. However, our faith in Jesus Christ—our conviction that Jesus is who He says He is, that we are who He says we are, and that He is faithful to His promises—will keep us steady, sure, and true.

When we lean on our faith, we lean ever closer to Him. Close to our Lord, we can hear Him whisper, “Have faith in Me, daughter. I am stronger than the storm you face. Lean closer still. I am here. I will hold you up. You are not alone.”

With Jesus as our life preserver, we can endure any storm, regardless of its ferocity or danger. When we are through the storm and reach safety, we can turn back to the dangerous winds and the mighty waves and point to Jesus. With confidence and faith in Him, we can proclaim He is sovereign and powerful; He is the Lord, “whom even wind and sea obey” (Mark 4:41).

With you on the boat and in the storm,

Food for thought or journaling… 

What storm is rocking your boat right now? How is this storm affecting your faith in Jesus? Are you leaning into Him and His promises? Whether you find yourself praising God with faith or are struggling to feel His presence, consider these questions: Who do You say that You are, Lord? Who do You say that I am, Lord? What are Your promises to me?

Lord, reveal Your presence to me today. Lord, increase my faith in who You are, in who I am to You, and in Your promises to me. Lord, “I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). Amen.

P.S. Want to learn practical ways to weather the storms and grow in faith? When life knocks you off balance, God wants you to hold fast to Him. Check out our Bible study, Keeping in Balance


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