Without faith it is impossible to please God. The writer of Hebrews makes this bold and pretty exclusive statement. Having theoretical faith is pretty easy. When life is good, it is easy to trust. It is harder to believe when you hit a storm. Am I going to trust when the hard times hit? I am going to be pleasing to God? A question that I have to wrestle with when the stuff of life hits me. Am I going to be afraid or am I going to trust?
Mark poses this same question in one of his snap shots of Jesus. In the latter part of Mark 4, Jesus and his closest disciples conscript a boat to go the other side of the lake so they can be alone for a while. Jesus moves to the back of the boat, lays down and falls asleep. The disciples, some of which were very familiar with the lake because they were fisherman, climb in too.
As they are crossing, a storm arises; a pretty bad storm. The waves are washing over the side of the boat and the disciples start freaking out! Peter, James, John, Andrew - men who made their living on the lake - were of no help in the midst of this storm. Their years of experience on the lake did not help them. (Mind you, I would be freaking out too!)
They wake Jesus up and ask a pretty interesting question: Master, don't you care if we drown? Jesus, you have been healing the masses, you have cast out demons, you healed a guy who could not walk. Do you care about everyone else except us? Are you going to heal them and let us die? Don't you care for us?
Jesus answer was simple: he calmed the storm (ha!!!). He then posed a question back at them: why are you afraid? Do you have no faith?
It is easy to have faith when you are not in the hot seat. Fear is a natural response of being in the hot seat. It is easy to believe when your faith is not being challenged. It is easy to be afraid when you the storms hit.
We all experience this. When it is your child who is going into surgery it is a fundamentally harder than when it is someone elses child. When you have lost your job, it is harder to believe than when someone else looses their job.
The disciples had watched Jesus do miracle after miracle, heal person after person, cast out evil spirit after evil spirit - and they were afraid about the storm. Why? Because it was their storm. It was their boat. It was their fear of drowning.
When Jesus calmed their storm, saved them from their drowning - they understood a new reality about Jesus; they saw him in a new and powerful light. They saw his power at work in their life. And they were afraid. Again.
The question for me is - am I going to trust this Jesus? This Jesus who heals, who redeems, who loves, who rose from the dead. During the storms of my life, during my personal storms - am I going to trust him?