Faith That Overcomes
Faith That Overcomes - Merrill Unge
And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?”—Mark 4:40.
Multitudes who know not our Lord Jesus Christ and obey not His Gospel are at a loss as to which way to turn. Many of God’s own children are beset by doubts and uncertainties.
Peace, security and happiness, so tenaciously striven after, so zealously sought for, seem to elude man’s grasp and fail and fade like the mirage of the desert.
The pall of night ever threatens to settle down upon the noontide of the world’s flimsy happiness. Is there no respite from this dread contagion of fear, no deliverance from the epidemic of uncertainty? For the believer there is, of course, release, full and complete, in God’s gracious provision.
But the world sunk in unbelief and sin can look for no relief. While the child of God must not expect to be immune from the temptations, dangers and commotions of this life, he can meet them victoriously, maintaining always the peace of God in his soul. He must not be under any illusion, however, that he will not run into dangers and storms in his journey through the world.
This world, which sin has invaded, is like a Tiberian lake: sometimes tranquil and peaceful, its placid surface gilded with the setting sun, but easily angered, often unmanageably boisterous. The non-Christian must cross the sea of life without chart and compass and the presence of the Savior on board. The true disciple of Christ has chart and compass and the presence of Christ with him in the voyage of life.
1. Being a Christian, however, does not shield from the storm.
Not only so, but the pathway of true consecration and obedience to the Savior often leads through troubled waters. “When the even was come,” it was the Savior who said to the disciples, “Let us pass over unto the other side” (Mark 4:35).
It was in obedience to His command that they left the shore to embark upon the quiet waters as twilight slowly settled down. But soon His way, which by their obedience became their way, became stormy and tempestuous. “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full” (vs. 37).
Obeying Christ often involves suffering and persecution, as Christ suffered and was persecuted. “The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (II Tim. 3:12).
The true disciple of Christ is subject to hatred and scorn from the world—often tacit, unexpressed, but easily discoverable when the test is applied. “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
“If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.”—John 15:18, 19.
2. Being a Christian enables one to weather the storms.
Sometimes the child of God runs head-on into a terrific tempest. The winds howl and waves lash angrily. The little bark fills with water and Christ Himself is in the stern asleep. It is then that fear is most likely to lay its iron grasp upon the believer’s heart and to congeal it with its icy touch.
There are storms without, inevitable, unavoidable, certain as the stars in their courses. But subtler and more dangerous are the storms within. But if we can rest serenely in the consciousness that an omnipotent Christ is with us in our frail boat, we can enjoy an inner peace that will keep us miraculously safe in the very vortex of the maelstrom without.
Christ’s service does not exempt His servants from storms. The stoutest heart, the ablest seaman may well fear when the angry gale whips the waves into fury. Without implicit faith in Christ, the bravest heart will falter.
Because of the raging storm, the disciples in a moment became as helpless as children. It did not take them long to see their utter impotence in the face of imminent death that threatened. It was then that fear laid hold upon them and they hastened to awaken Jesus.
Had they known Him more intimately and trusted Him more implicitly, they might well have shared the splendid peace and poise He enjoyed. However, like many of the Lord’s disciples, the pressure of circumstances overcame them.
They were filled with tension and strain. Before they were aware, they were reduced to that lamentable state of fearfulness and fretfulness all too frequent among the professing followers of Christ. They began to doubt and to complain against the Lord Himself and to question His care for them.
3. Faith dissipates fear.
Believing God is the panacea for every inward disturbance. We would be in a happy condition indeed if we never doubted God and never questioned His care or concern for us.
The Master of the sea and the Lord of creation knows our human frailty. Though He may seem to be asleep in the hinder part of the boat and oblivious to our peril, yet when the furious tempest is upon us and the swirling waves threaten to engulf us, when we call upon Him, He will arise for our help.
Sometimes when we cannot and the situation appears hopeless and we struggle vainly in the fury of the tempest, He, the infinitely gracious One, nevertheless will still the storm which no one else but He can calm.
“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:39). Those who look to Him in times of trouble and commotion and unfalteringly trust Him experience the “great calm.”
We need not fear the storm if we know Him who can still the storm. He who is “our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1) graciously manifests Himself in times of distress.
Though we know more in some ways than these men, yet in times of strain and stress we are still driven to say, “Who then is this?” In the answer to that question lies the secret of rest and deliverance from fear.
In the degree that we really know Him, in that degree shall we be fearless and quiet amid all the commotion of life. In proportion as we become acquainted with Him through trusting Him shall we experience the peace of God which passes all understanding, guarding our hearts and our thoughts in Christ Jesus.
Blessed quietness, holy quietness,
What assurance in my soul!
On the stormy sea, He speaks peace to me.
How the billows cease to roll! —Manie Payne Ferguson