By Assistant Pastor Lai Keet Keong
I was at a church camp a few years ago when I noticed a little girl at a swimming pool. She gleefully called out “Daddy! Daddy!” to her father who was in the pool, and before we knew it, she ran and jumped into the pool. Her father promptly caught her with his strong arms. Almost immediately, she swam her way out of the pool, ran and jumped right back into the pool towards her father. It must have been a fun game for her, as she did it again and again! It left a deep impression on me as I saw a little girl with great faith in her daddy.
There is a kind of faith described in the Bible that speaks of trusting God in every circumstance. This is not a faith that tells God what He must or should do for us. Instead, it is a faith that gives us courage to step out of our comfort zone, much like the little girl at the pool.
Matthew 14:22-24 tells us about a time when the disciples encountered a tremendous storm at sea. They endured 9 hours of merciless waves – from around 6pm till about the fourth watch of the next morning, around 3 am. By this time, the disciples were most likely physically drained, emotionally discouraged and spiritually disillusioned. They probably struggled with questions like: WHY did Jesus send us into the storm? WHERE is Jesus when we need Him most? WHAT can I do now?
I recalled asking similar questions during some of the low points in my life: Why did God allow this to happen? Was God punishing me? Why didn’t He answer my prayers? I knew that God loves me, but I did not understand why I had to go through such a difficult time.
It was at one low point that God spoke to me about a persevering faith in every situation. To trust God means to acknowledge that “I am weak but Thou art strong!” In every situation, through unexpected curveballs that life would throw at us, God will always be there. God is able to make every broken situation in our life beautiful, in His time.
In Matthew 14, the disciples panicked. But Jesus had a beautiful plan in mind. Verse 25 describes how Jesus came to the disciples walking on water. What an amazing demonstration of divine power!
However, instead of awe and worship, the disciples cried out in fear because they thought he was a ghost! Yet, if we recall, just four chapters before in Matthew 10, the faith-filled disciples were victoriously casting out evil spirits! I cannot help but wonder: What happened to the disciples’ faith between Matthew 10 and 14?
I once heard this analogy: You are holding a cup of coffee; someone comes along and bumps into you and you spill your coffee everywhere. Question: Why did you spill the coffee? Well, if your answer is, “Because someone bumped into me!”, then you are wrong! You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. The lesson is this: You can only spill what is inside your cup. When life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. We can hide what is inside of us (and may even do well to put up a false front on the outside), until we get rattled.
What is in your cup right now? When life gets tough, what spills over? Is it joy, thankfulness, peace and humility? Or is it anger, bitterness, harsh reactions and words? You see, life provides us the cup, but we choose what to fill it with.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, it is my sincere prayer that we will choose to fill our cups with godly things: gratitude, grace, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation and love for others. It is not easy, but as we learn to see God with us in every situation now and not just in the past, when we learn to trust in Him, He will uphold us with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10). God bless you.