That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
In a culture that values self-reliance and individual freedom, trusting God can be a huge challenge. In a world that has the potential to throw us any number of curveballs, sending our lives into a tailspin in an instant, trusting God takes a lot of effort.
Yet, every once in awhile, you come across one of those people who doesn’t seem to be plagued by these worries. They put their full trust in God. I trust that God will handle this situation. For so many years, I never understood these people, or their unflappable belief that all would be well. Why aren’t you worrying about this?!? Their calm statements that God would provide often felt like platitudes to me. Just something people say. They couldn’t possibly mean it all the time.
What if God doesn’t provide? What if all won’t be well?
So I went out in search of an answer to this question… “What does it really mean to trust God?” And I was led to the Hebrew word “Aman” which is used over 100 times in the Old Testament. What better place to start than the Hebrew Scriptures that serve as the foundation of our faith.
AMAN, means “to be firm or sure; to be certain; to believe.” To me, that means that we can be absolutely sure of God’s unlimited power, wisdom, and promises. GOD WILL NEVER CHANGE. The circumstances of our lives may change in ways that are uncertain and scary, the people in our lives may change in ways that are unpredictable and confusing, but God’s love and faithfulness do not change. It was this kind of faith that the disciples in Mark’s Gospel needed as they faced the storm that threatened to swamp their boat. Aman – they needed be believe that God was with them.
How often I can identify with the disciples in this way, needing to find this kind of faith over and over again. About twelve years ago, my husband, Mark, was teaching English at a local high school. He had been there just under two years, and a round of severe budget cuts meant that his position was eliminated. I was staying home with our twin boys, who were two-years-old at the time, and so I had no income. This situation sent both of us into a panic. What would we do? How would we survive? We had children to take care of, mortgage payments on our brand new house. I couldn’t see past the debilitating fear that we would not recover from this blow. I couldn’t trust that God was a part of this new turn our lives had taken. I felt that God was very far away indeed. Well, it turned out that God didn’t really need my trust. He was there anyway… just as he ALWAYS is. Mark went on a string of interviews, and by August had secured a new teaching position in great school district only fifteen minutes from our house.
Mark was lucky to find a job pretty quickly. It could have just as easily taken him much longer and things could have gotten a lot tougher for us. It’s only looking back that I can see that one way or another, we would have been ok. The story ended the way it was going to end. The only variable was how much time I spent worrying about it. And isn’t that really all we can control in this world… our approach to the storms that we face? Aman… to be certain of God’s faithfulness. This kind of belief provides us tremendous comfort as we move through life. God will never abandon us. God will always keep His promises. We many not always know HOW he’ll do it – which can be very scary for people used to being in control of our lives – but we know that he will.
In fact… I propose that believing in the unfailing faithfulness of our God is our only job. All goodness, joy, and meaning stems from this unshakable belief. Even during the darkest times, when you are paralyzed with fear, worry, or suffering… this is precisely the time to lift your eyes to the Lord… who made heaven and earth. To stand firm in the knowledge that God’s love and faithfulness will never change. Believe this even during those periods of darkness, when it seems like we have absolutely no contact with God. God wants us to TRUST him completely, especially when there is silence and darkness.
And again, I completely acknowledge that it’s a very hard thing to do. But God doesn’t expect us to do it alone. He gave us the gift us Jesus – our cornerstone. In Isaiah chapter 28 verse 16 it says:
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.’
Jesus is the foundation upon which our faith rests. Those who believe and build their lives around this cornerstone will stand firm through the trials of life. This rock is what will help us withstand anything that life brings. We can make it through the hard times, because we know God will be with us every step of the way, and he gave us His only Son to prove it. We are firmly anchored to the Rock of Ages.
Questions for Reflection:
- Think of people you know who seems to have complete and unfailing trust in God. Ask them to share their secret!
- When do you find it the most challening to place your trust in God?
- Spend some time today thinking about Jesus as our Cornerstone. How does that affect your worries and fears?