“One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.’” Everyone piled into a boat, and while Jesus took a nap, such a violent storm hit them that the disciples were afraid they were going to drown. They woke Jesus up not so much because they expected Him to do anything, but because misery loves company – certainly Jesus needed to prepare to die with them. I can see Jesus all groggy-eyed, getting up, looking at 25’ waves, muttering “sheesh,” then commanding the storm to be still. The disciples must have looked like deer in the headlights. Jesus turned to them and said, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:22-25).
“Uhhh…the dog ate it…”
That’s our familiar lame excuse for everything from forgetting to do homework to not understanding Who Jesus is as the Lord of Creation. The interesting thing is that the same basic principle is in operation. It is always where we should know better and therefore do better, but we don’t. So, what happens?
I believe it involves discipline and practice. Certainly doing the assigned homework is a matter of discipline. But, homework itself is an opportunity to practice what we’ve been taught. Every demanding career from musicians/performers, to athletes, to medical personnel, to soldiers/first responders and more requires this. To illustrate the importance, consider with soldiering that life and death are on the line. So, soldiers learn warfare, and drill, drill, drill for every imaginable contingency. Their objective is to be so well trained in crisis response and offensive tactics, that no precious time is lost coming up with a plan and/or figuring out how to execute it.
The disciples who ate, slept, and worked beside Jesus were constantly learning, and they even got a little practice helping Jesus. But could their familiarity with Jesus as the son of man have worked against their reverence of Jesus as Son of God? Obviously in the storm, they never considered that the Lord of Creation had absolute power over it.
But, those of us who have received Jesus’ miracle of salvation are guilty of the same thing. “My marriage can’t be fixed.” “This disease will kill me.” “I can’t pay my bills.” “I can’t take it anymore.” The situation is in fact dire, and the stakes are really high. If we see Jesus as Friend, but minimize that He holds all power and authority in Heaven and on earth, then we have no advocate and no recourse. Ironically, if we truly believe He is LORD of ALL and we still become hopeless in crises, we unfortunately are not practicing Who Jesus is. Honing that necessary reflex response of faith requires the daily personal discipline of spending time with Him. Are we too busy to carve out the time and make a life-style change like a soldier? If we believe it is important to practice proficiency in our careers and giftings, how much more vital is it to make intimate relationship with Jesus the foundation that undergirds EVERYTHING?
Do we really have an excuse?