This past Sunday I heard a sermon that was based on a text, one I myself had read many times before and had even preached on once. During the sermon, my pastor said nothing all that new to me, but throughout the sermon, I kept thinking, I needed to be reminded of that. For some of us, it may be rare to hear something truly new in a sermon or a Bible study, but we still need frequent reminders of what we already know because we are prone to forget.
You don’t have to read biblical history long to realize that God’s people were forgetful. They often forgot about His provision, His promises, and His power. Think of the Israelites during their wilderness wanderings. They grumbled about not having enough food or water not long after He had delivered them from Egypt and led them across the Red Sea on dry land. How could they think the Father would bring them out of bondage only to abandon them in the desert?
Jesus’s disciples evidenced this same forgetfulness in Luke 8. On a boat trip across the Sea of Galilee, a great storm came upon their small ship. Several experienced fishermen were aboard; the fact they, with all their experience, were fearful, proves the powerful nature of the storm. Despite the storm, Jesus was asleep in the boat. The disciples rushed to wake Him, telling Him they were going to die.
Think about the miracles the disciples had witnessed in the previous chapter. Jesus healed the centurion’s servant, not by placing His hands on the man but by speaking a word from miles away. In the next narrative, Jesus raised a widow’s son from death. So with those miracles in their very recent memories, why would the disciples think a storm was beyond Jesus’s control?
It’s easy for those of us who know the end of the story to find fault with the disciples’ fear. When you know how the exodus ends, it’s easy to shake our heads in disbelief at whiny Israelites. However, at some point, we need to stop, think, and realize we are just like those Israelites and Jesus’s disciples. We complain when God doesn’t run the world according to our dictates, and we shake in fear with uncertainty about the future. The Israelites complained with hunger after the Red Sea parting, and the disciples were filled with terror over a storm even though they’d witnessed miracle after miracle—but really, we are no different. We grumble and shake after knowing Jesus died and rose again.
Jesus could just as easily ask us the same question He asked of His disciples: “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). When tempted to grouse about our circumstances or fear for the future, our first responsibility is to remember what we already know. We must look to the cross of the Lord Jesus and His resurrection from the dead. We must look to what we know of biblical history. There we will find God working for the good of His people. Having remembered who He is and what He has done, we can take heart and face the future with forward-looking joy.
Written by Scott Slayton