What do we have faith in today? The Government? Our doctor? Our employer? While we can speak of having faith in people or things, we know that this is different to having “a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10:22). Notice how it all starts with “a true heart”. Our readings in Luke 8 & 9 mention three people Jesus commended for possessing faith. But there was a fourth which caught our eye today; it is the question to his disciples, “Where is your faith?” (8:35).
Jesus is asleep in the boat, “a windstorm came down on the lake and they were filling with water and were in danger” (verse 23). In a panic the disciples wake him, “Master, Master, we are perishing”. At his command “the wind and the raging waves … ceased … He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’”. They had witnessed many miracles, we read yesterday for example, that he stopped a funeral procession and brought a widow’s only son back to life.
How fickle we can be, we who say we have faith! But we can sympathize with the disciples, their training in serving Christ was not yet complete; how complete is ours? We reflect on the storm on the lake. We will soon read in Luke 21 the prediction of Jesus that one day there will be “on the earth distress of nations because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and foreboding …” (21:25,26).
This may well be both a “roaring of the sea” in a literal sense following the prophesied “great earthquake” – linked with Armageddon (Revelation 16:16-18) – but the “distress of nations” will almost certainly have many other causes. Will those experiencing this hear the words of Jesus “Where is your faith?” There are words some of us sing – “The rough winds may wrestle / Our God will perform / With Christ in the vessel / We smile at the storm”.