Real Danger – by Shaun Denney
In Luke 8, the disciples find themselves in yet another storm, tossed and thrown by the wind and the waves. Yet this time, Luke records that they were in “real danger” (Luke 8:23, NLT). The storm the disciples were facing was not an imaginary storm that they had blown out of proportion. The disciples were truly in great danger, their lives were at stake. In verse 24, the disciples cry out in despair, as if all hope has been lost, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (Luke 8:24).
Have you ever been in real danger before? As a person who struggles with worry, I have manufactured some pretty horrible situations that have never come to pass. I have worried about everything from health to natural disasters. Yet the story we read in Luke 8 presents a situation that is real, lives are at stake! Imagine the disciples being tossed about by the wind and the waves. Every direction they look, they see pitch black, stormy skies. The wind is relentlessly blowing against their boat, which rocks back and forth. They feel the water surging into the boat, first covering their feet, now up to their ankles. They know that the boat will soon capsize, tossing them all into the raging waters. They have no emergency life vests, no escape boats to help them make a get-away. They are going to drown!
There are real dangers in our lives today as well. We (or our loved ones) are diagnosed with cancer. Natural disasters strike when we least expect them. A financial catastrophe takes place in our lives that we were unprepared for. A layoff comes from our workplace that we didn’t expect. All of these situations present real danger, they all have the power to knock us off our feet and cause us to cry out, “We’re going to drown!” We understand how the disciples felt because we have been in their shoes before, hopeless because the waters have begun to crash over us, causing us to lose hope.
Fortunately, that is not where the story ends. As always, that’s exactly the point where Jesus steps into the story. Only He can turn the hopeless into the hopeful. In Luke 8:25, Jesus wakes up, rebukes the wind and waves, and stops the storm. When every option had run its course and the disciples were ready to give up, He came to the rescue. When there was no way out, He became the way.
Jesus steps into the story.
Jesus wants to step into our stories too. He wasn’t just an active, present God to the 12 disciples. The never-changing God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He can step into any situation in our life and bring peace and calm; He can rebuke the wind and the waves; unemployment, bankruptcy, terrorism, illness. None of these is a match for His power.
The question He has for us today is the same question He had for the disciples, “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25). Where are you placing your faith today? Is it in your employer? Is it in a doctor? Government? If so, when the storms of life rage, we will be shaken. But if our faith is in Jesus alone, He is ready and willing to step into our story in ways beyond what we can ask, think, or imagine.
After seeing Jesus calm the wind and the waves, the disciples came to a new reality, “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!” (Luke 8:25). When Jesus steps into our story, even the wind and the waves obey Him. Even something as out of control as the sea had to bow to Jesus’ command. The storms of our lives are no different – our circumstances must bow down to Him too.
What if we let this shape our reality? If we let Jesus step into our story and calm the storms, would we live with such fear and dread? Or would we be free to live the radical life of discipleship that sent the first disciples throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth? Let the fact that even the raging storms of life must obey Jesus become your new reality today. Where is your faith?
Shaun Denney is the Local Initiatives Director at Southland Christian Church in Lexington, KY, and is a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY.