Last week I was at a youth missions camp where we sleep outside in tents. Needless to say, bad weather is a real problem when it happens. And last week there were a number of severe thunderstorms and even a tornado that came through the area. However, an amazing thing happened: the worst of it always missed us. The tornado stopped short. The worst of the thunderstorms either went south of us or around us above and below when we were directly in their paths. And in one case, what looked to be terrible weather just broke up completely. So instead of horrendous weather causing us great issues, we had milder weather, which dropped us from near 100 degree heat to a level that was much more bearable and the bad weather stayed away. Did we do anything to cause this? Of course not. But we prayed to the One who did.
And when he 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
What last week reminded those of us at the camp was the fact that we have very, very little control of things around us. The Lord is in control of everything. We can do nothing without Him. We like to pretend we’ve got everything under control. The reality is we don’t. We can’t even predict, much less control, the weather. Stop and think about that for a minute. If we can’t even accurately predict whether or not it will rain, how much do we really know and control? Not very much.
The implications of this are enormous. If we don’t control very much around us, why do we worry? Why do we stress out over things that are not in our control? Now, if they were under no one’s control, or they were under the control of someone who was malicious and evil, yes, we should worry. But if we truly believe that God is good, that He is righteous, and that He is Holy, why do we worry? Why do we stress? We shouldn’t, though that’s the normal, fleshly reaction. It requires us to trust by faith that He’ll take care of everything around us, so long as we’re in His will.
That’s not to say He’s not waiting on us. Sometimes He does. In the case of these verses, Jesus didn’t calm the storm and the waves until He was woken up and asked to save His disciples. Then He acted immediately. There are many cases throughout Scripture where God has the power, but He’s waiting on His children to acknowledge He can do something about a situation and trust Him by faith by asking for His help. He doesn’t do this to be mean. He does this to help expand our faith. Think about it from this perspective: what is more meaningful to you, that which you had to struggle to do or that which was handed to you like it was nothing? In most cases we’d say the former, because the struggle makes whatever it is all the sweeter. For instance, someone who has always had amazing velocity on his fastball likely doesn’t appreciate his gift as much as another pitcher who had to work hard to build up his top speed. Or someone who breezes through math probably doesn’t feel as strongly about getting an A in a difficult class as someone for whom math is a struggle. If God handed us everything on a silver platter, would we appreciate those blessings? Would we appreciate God?
I can tell you from personal experience that we don’t appreciate God as much as we should. Each day is a blessing. Each day is filled with blessings hand delivered by our Savior. Our salvation is a blessing that we all too often forget. The Holy Spirit being there for us is another blessing we often neglect to remember. God Himself there to guide us and show us His ways and we so often forget He is right with us. How often do we appreciate that He has everything under control? There are so many things to be thankful to God for. There are so many blessings we experience every day with which to rejoice over and thank Him for. One of the biggest is that He is in control and we’re not. I’ll leave you with something to think about: what would life be like if you were always in control of everything around you? Would you really be happy or would you instead feel the burden of the world on your shoulders?