What's the most important question you've ever asked someone?
"Will you marry me?"

"How are we going to live through this?"

"Did I lose the baby?"

"Should we move?"

"Why should I try to go on living if my life is going to be like this forever?"

"Where should I go to college and what should I major in?"

"Will you still love me if I say, 'No'?"

"What are we going to do now?"

"Is it a boy or a girl?"

"Should I take this job?"

"Is there any money left?"

"Will our marriage survive this?"

"Do you think we should adopt?"

"Was the surgery successful?"

"Should I be baptized?"

"Is it cancer?"

My guess is that none of these questions grabbed at your heart unless it was a question you asked at some point in your life. Our questions become a lot more urgent when we're the ones in the boat, the seas around us are raging, and we don't know what to do. That was certainly true for Jesus' early disciples.

And when he [Jesus] got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing."

And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.

And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"
(Matthew 8:23-27 ESV)






This may well be the most important question any of us asks: "What sort of man is this...?" And this is not a question we ask just once. Each of us needs to keep asking it in all of our own life's unique circumstances.

Because life is, after all is said and done, about navigating storms. These storms come and they go. They rain and they blow. Their waves rock and they roll. And through it all, we need to keep asking, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"





Sometimes we find ourselves caught in a building Storm. We see the storm clouds collecting on the horizon. We've seen the warning signs. We've felt the dread of knowing difficult times are coming. As the storm intensifies, we need to know that we are not alone. We need to know that Jesus and his people will walk with us.

Because life is, after all is said and done, about navigating storms. These storms come and they go. They rain and they blow. Their waves rock and they roll. And through it all, we need to keep asking, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"





Sometimes we find ourselves in the middle of a storm in life, and we are frozen with fear. At that moment, we need someone to act for us. We need to know that when we don't know what to pray or how to pray, the Holy Spirit prays for us (Romans 8:26) and that the prayers of Jesus' disciples surround us.

Because life is, after all is said and done, about navigating storms. These storms come and they go. They rain and they blow. Their waves rock and they roll. And through it all, we need to keep asking, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"





Sometimes we find ourselves feeling like Jesus isn't even listening to us. We're tired of the shallow answers and throw away clichés that don't fit into the frustration playing out in our lives. We're angry. Yet more than angry, we're hurt. We don't understand why our prayers aren't answered, and other prayers seemed to be answered. We can't fathom why the Lord of heaven and earth can't just blink away our challenges and bring us to a new day. We need help. We need to know that the Lord isn't sleeping while we're praying. We need to know he is not ignoring us while we plead with tear-stained cheeks.

Because life is, after all is said and done, about navigating storms. These storms come and they go. They rain and they blow. Their waves rock and they roll. And through it all, we need to keep asking, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"





Sometimes we find ourselves trusting that Jesus is in control. We have this strangely wonderful calm in the face of our storm. We can't say why, exactly, but we do. We feel as if Jesus has been here before and can handle our mess and guide us to a safe harbor. So we wait while the storm rages knowing that the storm will pass, or the Lord will still the seas and order the winds to cease.

Because life is, after all is said and done, about navigating storms. These storms come and they go. They rain and they blow. Their waves rock and they roll. And through it all, we need to keep asking, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"






Sometimes we find ourselves enjoying the calm after the storm. We love the peace and good times. We bask in the sun of God's goodness and obvious grace. We share in the gentle presence of those we love. Life seems easy. Our world feels comfortable. Our future looks bright. Yet we know that sooner or later, storms will come.

For life is, after all is said and done, still about navigating storms. These storms come and they go. They rain and they blow. Their waves rock and they roll. And through it all, we need to keep asking, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?"

As we reflect back on this event in the life of Jesus' disciples, let's take with us four concepts to go with our key life question.

First, we need to notice that the disciples were in this together! They weren't trying cross the Sea of Galilee — or do life — alone. We can't do life alone on our own. We need each other. We need to have others who share the journey and remind us that they, too, have similar struggles. That storms come and go, yet God's people endure.

Second, we can cry out to the Lord for help together. Notice how they said it, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." The Lord welcomes our cries, even when they are cries of panic and fear. He doesn't discard our request when a strong faith is hard for us to muster: a little faith, with the Lord, goes a long way (Matthew 17:20).

Third, the Lord doesn't rebuke the disciples, but the wind and the seas. This distinction is important for us to notice. Rather than berating the disciples for their lack of faith, Jesus uses a term that looks like a term of endearment to address the disciples. He calls his disciples "little-faith-ones" — oligoipistoi a single word which literally means, "ones with little faith." Our Lord transforms the least into the greatest, the last into the first, and the lost into the found. The Lord of heaven and earth moves mountains and stills raging seas when all his disciples can muster is just a little faith (cf. Matthew 6:30; Matthew 17:20)!

Fourth, what seems like troubled seas and dangerous storms to us are no threat to the Lord of heaven and earth. Jesus is God for the disciples in this moment of desperation and fear:
Who is like you, LORD God Almighty? You, LORD, are mighty, and your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, you still them (Psalm 89:8-9).
He longs to be God for us in our moments of desperation and fear. Despite sometimes appearing to be silent, we are reminded that the Lord's apparent lack of attention doesn't mean his lack of care or his lack of presence. Even in the Lord's silence we are known even when it appears we are alone.

No matter the season and no matter the seas, let's keep asking: "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Jesus has promised to be with us and show himself to us and make his home with us (John 14:15-23). So let's approach each new day, each new experience, and every fresh storm as an opportunity to learn something new about our Savior who will never abandon us or forsake us (Romans 8:35-39). And in those persistent times of struggle, fear, and loneliness, let's remember an old promise from our ever-present and always near Lord: "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5; Joshua 1:5; Deuteronomy 31:6-8).










Images courtesy of Free Bible Images and Lumo Project. Used by permission.

See links below for the first three articles in this series.