Storm of Doubt

Rembrandt (1606-1699). The Storm on the Sea in Galilee.

              Rembrandt (1606-1699).             The Storm on the Sea in Galilee.

Jesus “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.” (Matthew 8:26)

Have you ever struggled with doubt? I know I have, and I still do.

In Matthew 8:23-34, we read about Jesus sleeping on a boat while he was with his disciples. A storm picks up and the disciples wake him, pleading with him to do something. Jesus speaks and the wind and waves grow silent. The people are stunned.

I would be, too.

The problem is that I live in the 21st century. We have Science, Doppler radar, the Weather Channel, and Google now. By nature, I am
skeptical:

Surely, there must be a natural explanation for the calming of the storm.

Stuff like this simply does not happen.

Perhaps there was some meteorological phenomenon going on that was left out of the story. Perhaps it was just a coincidence. Perhaps the story teller, Matthew, if it even was Matthew, made it all up. The whole story was just a concoction to make this “Jesus” sound more impressive than he really was.

Maybe you never entertain thoughts like these. Maybe you are the type of person absolutely convinced that the Bible never, ever can be wrong. You never dreamed of questioning the Bible.

I really admire that attitude, and I do believe, but it has never been that easy for me.

I suppose it has something to do with my personality. I tend to second guess everything. And I mean everything.

We bought a car last year. The guy said it was brand new. The first thing I did when I got the keys was open up the hood, check the car from top to bottom, just to make sure it was not a lemon and that I was not getting ripped off.

Jesus challenges me in my storm of doubt.

Everything in the Gospels points us towards the last week, the climax in Jerusalem. The earliest Christian confession was simply that Jesus Christ was crucified and then bodily risen from the dead.

Folks, it all comes down to the Resurrection. And if you can believe in the Resurrection, then the calming of the sea is just a piece of cake.

So, if you are reading along in the Gospel of Matthew this Lenten season, and you run across something that raises doubt in your mind, then that is perfectly OKAY. Ask questions.

Ask hard questions.

You do not have to believe everything in the Bible, simply to be able to read the Bible.

Just keep reading.

Matthew’s Gospel points us to the week of Easter with this single, radical claim: Jesus was nailed to the cross, and then raised up from the dead. And if you can believe that Jesus really did that, it will change everything. And I mean, everything.

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2 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Veracity and commented:
    For many living in our secular culture, there is widespread doubt about the Bible. There is a perception that we as Christians must somehow defend the Bible against all critics.

    Wow. I get tired just thinking about it.

    The problem is that the Bible is a big book and so many people simply feel overwhelmed by the task, including myself, and I spent several years in seminary!

    So while such efforts at “defending the Bible” are well-intentioned, and they still serve an important purpose, they can distract the Christian from the main task in evangelism. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul summarizes the Gospel to his readers: Jesus Christ, and him crucified, and then risen from the dead. Remarkably, the evidence for the Risen Jesus is so strong without a belief in so-called “biblical inerrancy”, I am willing to concede for the sake of the argument just about any criticism of the Bible so long as I can get someone to take seriously the claim of the Risen Jesus. If someone can in view of the evidence grasp in faith the reality of the Risen Jesus, then I firmly believe that any other problems we have with the Bible will in time be resolved.

    The following posting on our church’s Lenten series gets to the heart of the matter…

  2. To appreciate the bible we must appreciate God. To meet the living Word and the living God is truly a gift. Even saying , much is our responsibility. There are things thoughts prejudices we need to rid and Address. We need to ask where did they come from what are their basis. Not just keep living life making excuses. When sin is chipping away we can allow for realities of God and allow openness in the heart. We are not neutral to God and Jesus. I honestly think there are many barriers but the biggest one is the fact that a lot people don’t like to think period. I pray that more people think and really feel , emotionality is important. So I’ve totally wandered off the point. On they boat they called in the storm master ! Master! And He asks where is your faith? They knew He was master , but had it really reached their inner being really gone there ,really gone to their heart? So He asks Where is your faith ? It’s feeling real and breathing. With their being.. We all need that question in the storms. Where is your faith?

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