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Jesus Asleep In the Boat: Faith vs. Fear

July 19, 2021 0 Comments

The story of Jesus sleeping in a boat during the storm seems to be very popular. Most people seem to think the disciples lacked faith because they did not speak to the storm. But I think it was really more about their lack in faith that they were with Jesus, so the storm really was not a threat.

As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves—but Jesus kept sleeping. So the disciples came and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to die!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!” – Matthew 8:23-27 (CSB)

The Video also contains my own fishing storm story

Most of the disciples were fishermen so no doubt they had experienced storms before. This one must have been pretty bad for them to be afraid. Water was coming over the edges and the disciples began to panic. Yet, Jesus slept calmly in the back.

Now some will say that the disciples should have spoken to the storm, but I really don’t think this is what Jesus is trying to teach us here. I don’t think at this point the disciples had even been taught that concept

Faith = Trust

When the disciples woke Jesus up, he rebukes them for their lack of faith. The best way to define faith is trust. Granted the storm was fierce, but Jesus was with them. Why were they afraid? They had seen all the miracles Jesus had done so why did they not trust him?

Jesus knew he had a purpose on the other shore. He also knew his time had not yet come to die. No matter how bad the storm got, it did not pose a threat to his ultimate purpose nor his present mission.  Jesus knew nothing could stop his purpose.

So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God[a] and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own- Matthew 6:31-34 (CSB)

Yes I Worry

I have to admit I can be a master worrier. I always have been. We all face storms in life and some of them can be rather traumatic. We want to have faith and we pray and pray but it seems as if Jesus is asleep.

We often approach life as something to be fixed; perhaps we just need to have the faith to trust Jesus with the outcome.

Of course, this is easy to say; it is a whole other issue to live it out.

Called to Live in Community

Don’t go it alone – God has created us to live in community. If you are not part of a church, seek out one. Call a friend reach out. When you lack faith, others around can have faith for you.  There is a link in the description where you can send me a prayer request.

If you Need Help

Now I know I have run a great risk of oversimplifying what can be a debilitating problem.

If you suffer from severe anxiety and depression, it is OK to seek out professional help.  It does not show a lack of faith. If you are afraid to see a counselor alone, ask a friend or family member to go with you.

If you have thoughts of harming yourself reach out to the suicide prevention hotline 800-273-8255 or

Be Willing to Help

If you have a friend that you know suffers with extreme fear or anxiety pray for them daily and check on the often. If they need medical help, volunteer to go with them.

We will all experience struggles in life. No matter what circumstances we walk through, we have a God who has promised to always be with us. The Holy Spirit dwells in us

Let me know in the comments ways that have helped you grow in faith or deal with fear in your life. 

Now I pray that you are covered by the grace and peace of God our Father and of his son Jesus.

Be strong and courageous.

Scripture quotations marked CSB have been taken from the Christian Standard Bible Copyright 2020 by Holman Bible Publishers, Used by permission, Christian Standard Bible and CSB are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers

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About the Author:

I am enthusiastic about helping others discover their purpose and grow into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It is great to see their eyes light up at their “Ah Ha!” moment when they discover they were created for something more. My hope is that this blog will help encourage and inspire you along your way. Join the conversation and take the time to share with me your own story. I have been married to my beautiful wife Janice for over 30 years. We currently live in McDonough Georgia with our daughter. Our two boys have left the nest and we have two wonderful grand kids. Of course we cannot forget about our dog Bear.