We can give credence to the feelings of aloneness and helplessness and give up, or we can stake a claim on the promise of God that God will be with us always to the end of time (Mt. 28:20). Focusing on the former choice leads to a dead end and a faltering relationship with Christ. Choosing the latter, investing in faith in God’s promises to us, leads us to peace, wholeness, and a deepening relationship with Christ. Even though there was more than a hint of frustration on Jesus’s part when he asks the disciples, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?”, there is also an incredible and very important manifestation of honesty in relationship and trust in Jesus’s willingness to hear their concern when they ask: “Do you not care that we are perishing?”
The development of relationships, any relationship, is marked and shaped by a series of ups and downs, and this is no less true of our relationship with Christ. We delight in the positive events and work our way through the difficult times. The tenacity to stick with it is what enables the relationship not just to survive; but also to thrive, to grow and to deepen. The disciples’ ability to express their consternation gave Jesus the opportunity to assert his power over the storm and, more importantly, to exert influence on the apostles’ faith. We all have the choice to let our fears fester or to rely on the power and compassion of God to embrace us and free us from our fears. Each time we place ourselves in the care of God, in spite of any doubts or concerns we might have, our life in Christ gets stronger. Challenges will continue to come our way, and each time that we choose to trust that God is with us, our relationship with God will deepen.
In the gospel story, Jesus gives no verbal answer to the disciples’ query: “Do you not care?” The answer is in what Jesus does when he stills the turbulent waters and brings about calm. He does care and will continue to show that care when we invest in a trusting relationship with him. Having faith in God is a lifelong process, one that makes our journey through life richer, more peaceful, and more centered. So will you go it alone, or will you walk in the company of Christ?
Take your next step: As a means to create a readiness to trust in God’s goodness, for one week, try praying the following each morning upon waking: “Loving God, be with me throughout this day, leading and guiding me each step I take.” During the day, when you find yourself fearful, ask God: “Release me from the fear and anxiety that threaten to overwhelm me.” And each night, pray: “Thank you for being at my side all the day long.”