Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the dramatic incident when Jesus and the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee and a violent windstorm swept down upon them (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25). Even the strong efforts of the experienced boatmen on board could not match the dashing waves, and water began to fill their vessel until it seemed in jeopardy of sinking. Peacefully the weary Jesus slept on in the back of the boat. In desperation they awakened Him. "Master, Master, we perish!" they shouted above the howling wind. "Carest Thou not that we perish?" Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the water and there was calm. He also rebuked the disciples for their fear. "Where is your faith?" He asked them, as in amazed wonder they beheld this marvelous happening, proving Jesus to be Master even of the winds and the waves.
In the world today there are storms of many varieties and velocities: personal, family, community, national, international. Do you think our Lord would ever ask us, "Where is your faith?" as our hearts grow faint in the storms of life? We must learn to face the storms of life in faith. We can help prepare ourselves to be calm in the storm by strengthening our faith in the biblical way: "
faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Rom. 10:17). If we are willing to make whatever sacrifices are necessary to spend adequate time to read the Word of God daily and meditate on it, our faith will grow and be strong in perilous days. The example of godly men and women we read of in the Bible will help us overcome the hardship we face by looking unto our blessed Redeemer who will never leave us nor forsake us.
Likely each of us has someone among our family, neighbors, work fellows or friends who needs to see in us an example of stalwart men and women of faith who will first of all, care about the relationship of that one with Christ, and then be a support in the battle he or she faces. Someone in desperation, in the silence of his heart, might be crying out right now, "Do you not care that I am perishing?" It could be that the ultimate Caregiver wants to use you or me to speak peace to that troubled one for Him.
Jesus Says to "Look on the Fields" Ripe to Harvest
And let us turn our attention with Jesus to earths millions around the world whom He sees to be in deadly peril of perishing for eternity. It is the sad truth that many of these millions in great sincerity make efforts in religion, but they are in vain. They bow before lifeless idol statues; they faithfully recite ritual prayers; they turn prayer wheels and burn candles; they offer sacrifices to appease evil spirits. Still they perish! They have not heard that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13).
When Jesus saw the multitudes as He walked the shores of Galilee, His tender heart yearned over them. Many wore marks of carrying burdens too heavy to bear. Their hearts were failing them. They were like scattered sheep that had no caring shepherd to protect and succor them. And so it is today in many places around the world.
Jesus urged His disciples (and us!) to pray that God, the Lord of the harvest, would send forth laborers into the harvest to gather it in (Luke 10:2). It is a harvest precious to Him. Thank God for every individual and every church and organization that He has sent forth into the harvest field. Many are employing modern technology, speeding up the transmission of the Gospel remarkably since the days of early missionaries, like William Carey for instance. Keep looking for opportunities the Lord would have you grasp in support of such faithful laborers.
Though many of us do not go in person into the harvest fields around the world, might we not fail to go by prayer. The article by E. M. Bounds on page one of this issue challenges us as to what real prayer is. To get souls delivered from the kingdom of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His own dear Son, to help souls come out of dense darkness into His marvelous light requires more than a fleeting word of prayer. Who is able for it? Might God give us grace to enter into the reaping kind of praying that will people the heavenly places which Jesus has gone to prepare for them! Jesus encourages us with John 4:36: "He that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together."
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon