#4. God expects us to grow in faith. (Mark 4:35-41)
As long as we’re in Christ, God expects us to grow in faith. The disciples of Jesus had, before the passage in consideration (Mark 4:35-41), witnessed countless miracles that Jesus performed (including those that were not recorded in Scripture – see John 20:30-31; 21:25), yet their faith remained small (or weak). Seriously, Jesus raised the widow’s son at Nain (Luke 7:11-17), Jairus’ daughter (Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56), and Lazarus (John 11:1-44). Isn’t it surprising that someone would still be afraid of dying, even though he is a friend to the One who has power over death? Yet, we catch ourselves in the same situation many times – when the car starts to skid off the road, when the plane is hit by turbulence and begins to shake, when you feel so sick that it seems as though your spirit is gradually leaving your body. We have all, at one time or another, feared that we might die.
The longer we are in a relationship with God, the more we should commit to trusting Him completely. When two people are in a relationship, they will expect to trust each other more as their relationship progresses. This is God’s expectation too, and I will give you a hypothetical scenario.
A Short Scenario
Suppose you have a child whom you have been teaching to trust you even when she does not understand the decisions you make, or why you make them, and you have been bringing her up that way ever since she was a kid. Then, she becomes an adult and begins to attend a university far away from home. Then after her first year in the university, she is returning home for the long break. She gets to the airport but doesn’t see you (you had promised her you’d be there to pick her up). Meanwhile, you had forgotten to check the news that morning. Had you done that, you would have known not to take the usual route to the airport. Now, you’re stuck in traffic because of the construction which started that morning on that usual airport route. And you had also not charged your cell phone that morning, so now the battery is very low.
Your daughter calls your line and you tell her you are stuck in unusual traffic congestion, but you promise to be there as soon as you can, forgetting to mention that you’ve got a really low battery on your cell. She waits for 10 minutes but still doesn’t see you, calls your line and your cell is switched off. So she assumes you were probably not telling her the truth and decides to take a cab home. You get to the airport arrivals area 15 minutes after you spoke to her, but do not see her anywhere. So, you try to use a paid phone to call her, thinking she might be using the washroom or something, but she rejects your call. Then you try her line a couple times more, and she keeps rejecting your calls. You become worried. Finally, when she answers your calls, she tells you she’s already home. Then she explains that she left because you lied to her that you were in traffic. Meanwhile, according to her, she did not see any heavy traffic on her way home with the cab.
Relating this to Our Relationship with God
Now, the above scenario might seem somewhat bizarre. However, it is similar to how we respond to God sometimes. You can imagine God’s disappointment towards us each time we get frustrated because He does not answer us exactly as we expected, or as soon as we might have expected. We might even think He is too slow sometimes, especially when the tragedy has already occurred, or nearly occurred. When there’s a delay in His response, we see no “traffic” and wonder what’s slowing Him down. In our focus miracle for today, we saw the disciples asking Jesus, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” – vs. 38. In a couple verses before that, Jesus had just been teaching them on the topic of faith, and how it relates to a mustard seed, which, though small, can grow to become a mighty tree (see vv. 30-32). And in some verses prior to those ones still, He was teaching them the parable of the sower who cast seeds which fell into four categories of places – by the wayside, on rocky soil, among the thorns, and on good ground. He later explained the parable to them – the sower is the preacher, the seeds are his words, and the ones that fell on the good ground are the people who listen to God’s words, receive them, and grow to maturity (you can find the full explanation here). But, from the events of that evening, when it came time to reveal their true spiritual state, it seemed like His disciples were in the first three categories – the seeds that fell by the wayside, on the rocky soil, or among the thorns. How sad. They were the only ones to whom that Jesus explained the meaning/significance of that parable. Yet, that did not increase their faith in Him. No wonder, they prayed Him to increase their faith (see Luke 17:5). This should also be our constant prayer too: “Lord, increase our faith.” Why not close your eyes, and say this out loud now, “Lord, increase my faith.”
Do you hear God speaking to you today through this lesson? Please, leave a comment or question; your comment/question might be a blessing to someone. You could also contact us through our contact page.
Go to the miracle lessons page for the other miracle lessons.
I was around 5 when, I am strongly convinced, I first heard the distinct voice of God. But, not until I was 11 (2002) did I have a personal encounter with Him. I was in my room that night, about to pray before bed, when I saw a revelation of how filthy my heart was. I didn't argue with God that I was too young to have such amount of filth ('cause I believed I was a 'good boy,' by human standards, at least). I simply cried uncontrollably in brokenness of heart - "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God" (Psalm 51:17) - and He didn't.
Still crying uncontrollably, I left my room and went to the living room, where my parents were watching the nightly news on TV. After I managed to tell them about the revelation I saw, my sweet mum took me to her room and led me to Christ. I got saved that night. And 6 years later, I discovered my purpose and assignment on earth, which is raising up men and women to be godly, and teaching them the simplicity of Christianity. More than a decade later, I am still fulfilling that purpose to His glory. Hallelujah!