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home : religion : inspirational reflections February 23, 2019

2/10/2019 12:11:00 AM
Anger, Hopeless, Or Faith?
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

It is interesting to compare similar passages in the Bible for deeper meaning. If a crowd witnesses an event, their individual descriptions of what happened are usually slightly different because they may not have seen and heard exactly the same thing.

This is why the gospels may present the same story about Jesus with different details. Difference descriptions of the same experience in the gospels allow for a wider view of what actually happened and what God is trying to teach us. I saw that this week as I was studying the well-known passage of how Jesus calmed the storm which is included in Mark 4:35-41, Luke 8:22-25, and Matthew 8:22-27.

The story itself is basically the same in all three passages. The disciples get in a boat with Jesus on a lake to go to the other side. Suddenly, a terrible storm comes and it looks like the boat is in danger of sinking. In all three versions Jesus is sleeping while the storm is raging, and the disciples are terrified. Each gospel says that the disciples went to wake him up.

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The interesting difference is that each gospel has a different version of what the disciples said to Jesus when they went to wake him up.

As I studied this, I saw that comparing the three ways they woke Jesus up gives us a good idea of how people of faith can react differently in a storm. It is quite possible that as all the disciples descended on Jesus taking a nap they were saying different things based on where they were in their faith.

One group was mad at the Lord as described in Mark 4:38. “Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” Sometimes we may feel that God doesn’t care about our suffering. We can get angry with Him, and blame Him for allowing a storm to occur in our lives. Our anger can be a barrier in our faith.

Another group was afraid and had become hopeless as described in Luke 8:24. “The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” Sometimes our fear and pain are so great that we may cry out to God with no expectation that he can help us because we have already given up in our hearts. Our hopelessness can be a stumbling block in our faith.

The third group believed that Jesus could work a miracle as described in Matthew 8:25. “The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” These disciples were just as afraid as the others but instead of being angry or hopeless, they asked Jesus to help them.

In all three gospels, Jesus wakes up, calms the storm, and rebukes them for their lake of faith. However, it may be that Jesus was only speaking to the ones who had become angry or hopeless. The ones who said “Lord save us!” had great faith. He delivered them all from the storm, but the ones who believed he could save them were spared from anger and hopelessness. So it is with us. We have a choice in the storm to become angry, hopeless, or have faith in Him.

Rev. Walker is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church    


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