Pastor Kevin Syes takes us inside Not By Sight
An exclusive devotion from Pastor Kevin
Doesn't it seem that so often the circumstances of life feel bigger than the promises found in God's word? An argument with a friend, a wayward child, financial hardship, an illness—life can feel overwhelming and the storms of life can feel unrelenting.
We find this was true for the disciples too. One especially poignant image of this is found Luke 8:22-25 as we see Jesus calming the storm. In Jon Bloom's new book Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith, he beautifully retells this familiar Bible story in a compelling new way:
James leaned on the bow gunwale watching reflections dance on gentle waves. James knew this sea. He and John had spent most of their lives on or in it. His Father was a fisherman. So were most of his male kin and friends. His mind flashed the faces of some of them who had drowned in unpredictable Galilean windstorms like the one that had pummeled them barely a half hour ago.
A seasoned boatman, James was not alarmed easily. But he knew a man-eater when he saw it. This storm had opened its mouth to swallow them all into the abyss. Terror had been in John's eyes when he grabbed James and yelled, "We have to tell the Master!"
They stumbled to the stern. How Jesus had remained sleeping while the furious surf tossed the boat around was itself a wonder. They woke him screaming, "Master, Master, we are perishing!"
James would never forget the way Jesus looked at him. His eyes were at once potent and tranquil. No trace of fear. Laying aside the blanket, Jesus rose to full height on the rear deck. James, fearing Jesus was about to be pitched overboard, reached to grab him just as Jesus shouted, "Peace! Be still!"
No sooner had those words left his mouth and the wind was completely gone! The sudden hush of the howling was otherworldly. The waves immediately began to abate. Each Disciple stood where he was, looking dumbfounded at the water and sky and each other.
Jesus' gaze lingered for a moment on the steep hills along the western shore. Then he looked around at the Twelve and said, "Where is your faith?" He had looked right at James when he said "faith." Now, as James leaned on the bow, he turned Jesus' question over and over in his mind.
The heart of this story is Jesus' striking question: Where is your faith? So often our faith is rooted in what we see, feel, and perceive around us. The disciples here had put more faith in their situation than they did in their Master. As Christians this is so easy to do! Yet we are called to live "not by sight."
We are reminded here that God's word is bigger than any storm or fearful life situation. As we move through life, we must constantly ask this question: "Where is your faith?" Jon Bloom helpfully reminds us in his new book: What God wants is for you to trust what he says over what you see.
Pastor Kevin Syes