This post is contributed by a former worker in Turkey
Master, we are perishing … And Jesus said to them, “Where is your faith?”(Luke 8:24–25)
When I read the account of Jesus calming the sea in Luke 8, I was struck by his response to the disciples. They express to him their fears, “we are perishing” and Jesus replies with “where is your faith?” What in their statement revealed a lack of faith? I had to ponder that one for a long time. Then it came to me. Their fear was rooted in their imagination or their perception of their situation. They were not, in fact, perishing. If they were in the sea gulping down water they would be indeed perishing. But they were still on the boat. They were in danger, yes, but not perishing. This made me remember a quote by Elizabeth Elliot that we had by our kitchen sink when we lived in Turkey, “God gives grace for the moment, but not your imagination.”
This insight from Luke has been a practical help for me. I have struggled the past couple of years with periodic thoughts of despair in wondering what I would do if my wife’s cancer came back and was fatal this time. This line of thinking has often taken me to dark places. Jesus’ rebuke in Luke 8 and Elizabeth’s Elliot’s quote has brought me to the place of faith instead of fear. Faith that IF that situation occurs, I will be able to cope with it because God will provide the grace needed. However, as long as we are not in that situation, thinking about it will continue to bring distress, fear, and anxiety because there is no grace available for the “what ifs” or the imaginations that fill our mind.
Are there any areas of your life and/or ministry where you have been focusing on the “what ifs” instead of the “what is”?