Sunday, February 7, 2010

Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?

23 ¶ And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! (Matthew 8:23-27)
I love this story. Recently I was reading through it again and exulting over Christ’s perfect unconcern in the middle of this big storm. It seemed perfectly natural for the disciples to go to Christ asking Him to save them so that they wouldn’t perish. They certainly were going to the right person for help.

But then it seemed odd to me that Christ said “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” And then he calmed the storm. On the surface, this miracle, speaks of Christ’s great power over the elements, and suggests that if he can calm the storms of creation, He has power to calm a troubled heart. But let’s look deeper. If all Christ was communicating to His disciples was “you’re safe with me” that wouldn’t do them much good if they happened to be in a storm on a boat without Him. It also doesn’t help the rest of us who don’t get this privilege of being with Christ.

What came to me finally was that Christ must have been thinking again of His life mission, knowing full well that He was born to give His life for us all. He would know when the time came, and until then, He knew His life was safe. Heavenly Father was watching out for Him. Angels were watching out for Him. It was not His time to die, so there was no reason for concern.

What about His disciples? His disciples had life missions to fulfill as well. They still had to take the gospel to the rest of the world. Clearly it wasn’t their time to die yet either. Christ knew this very well, and it seems that He expected them to realize it too, which is why He asked them why they were fearful.

The real lesson here that applies to us is that Heavenly Father numbers our days and He knows when He is going to call us home. We have life missions to accomplish and if we find ourselves in a life-threatening situation, we can have confidence that Heavenly Father will be watching out for us. If it is time for us to go, we will go. If we are to stay, we will stay. There is no need for fear.

I was telling my husband about this realization of mine as we were driving along a two-lane highway to home teach a man in prison in Florence. My husband tends to pass people and previous to this I have always been a little bit skittish (teeth-clenching-door-handle-gripping-muscle-tensing-holding-my-breath skittish) about it because my overactive imagination visualizes us suddenly colliding with someone coming the opposite way. But as I was telling my husband about what I discovered, and he was getting ready to pass someone, I thought, Why should I worry about passing anymore? My husband is careful; he will use his best judgment, and Heavenly Father is watching out for us. We both have a life’s mission. We have things to do. Until it’s over, we’ll be okay. And you know what? We were fine.