Does God Need Reminders?

Posted on · Posted in Fear of the Lord, Worldview, Worry

Jesus was on a boat with his disciples. He decided to take a nap. While he was sleeping, a fierce storm came up. Waves were crashing over the top of the boat. The disciples feared for their lives so, in a panic, they woke Jesus shouting, “We are going to drown!”

Let’s pause the story for a moment.

Can you identify with the disciples? It appeared the boat was about to sink and there was Jesus, sleeping! The disciples acted as if they didn’t alert their master, he wouldn’t know that they were in danger. At that precise moment, they were acting very much like you and me. We somehow think it is our job to remind God that he needs to care for us. So, like the disciples, we act as if we need go wake God up so he will take care us. We assume he is unaware of our dilemma. 

Okay, back to the story.

How does Jesus respond to the disciples’ panic?  He states the reason for their panic and then asks them a revealing question. Let’s look the statement and the question.

He states that the disciples have little faith. That may seem harsh given the strength of the storm. However, the reality is that the disciples compared the strength of the storm to the strength of God. It is in light of this comparison that Jesus  asks them, “Why are you afraid?”  Yes, the storm was strong. But God is stronger. This is the important take-away from this narrative: Jesus is Lord over the storm!

The truth is that whether Jesus slept or not, he was still in command of all that was going on. The parallel for us is that Jesus is always watching out for us and praying for us whether we ask him to or not; whether we recognize it or not. We are not to ask in doubt, as the disciples did, but we are to ask in confident faith. There is no need to remind God to help us or to question whether or not he cares for us. It is one thing to ask God for help in a difficult circumstance, like a strong storm. It is quite another to question his loving, constant, providential care.

The reason Christ rebuked the disciples was not because they wanted him to rescue them from the storm. The storm was no doubt frightening! The problem was that they did not ask in faith. They only wanted God to rescue them. They were coming to Christ out of fear and not out of faith. They were not remembering that Christ was the one who brought the storm to them. So, yes we should be in constant prayer for God to care for us. But that prayer should be a prayer of constant faith that God can be trusted no matter what the outcome of the storm.

The winds, the waves, the storms of life are all obedient to Jesus Christ, the Lord of Heaven and Earth. You don’t have to live in fear. God does not need our urgent reminders. In contrast, he requires us to live in faith, knowing that he is committed to his glory and our good.  He has promised that he will never leave you or forsake you, regardless of the intensity of the storm. With this kind of commitment, we can ask in awe with the disciples, “Who is this, that even the winds and the waves obey him?”

Matthew 8:24-27

Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

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Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.