In a well known Bible story about a life-threatening storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus posed this probing question to his frightened followers: “Where is your faith?” he asked them as the wind roared, the seas rolled, and the ship rocked. Their response came in the form of another question, one that revealed the hidden reason for their fear and anxiety. They said to one another, “Who is this man, that even the winds and waves obey him?” (See Luke 8:22-26).
Their answer to the question Jesus asked revealed that their faith was in the wrong thing. They were trusting their knowledge of the sea and their own sailing abilities, both of which were now proving inadequate; they were not trusting Jesus. And why not? Because, as they themselves admitted, they didn’t yet realize who he was.
In another familiar biblical scene we see Mary at the empty tomb of Jesus, weeping because his body is gone. Walking up behind her, the resurrected Christ asks this two-in-one question:”Why are you crying? What are you looking for?“Not recognizing Jesus and thinking he was the gardener, Mary asked him to tell her where he had put the body of Jesus. Her response was similar to that of the disciples. While their faith was in the wrong thing, Mary was looking for the wrong thing. She was so desperate to find a dead body that she almost missed seeing a living Savior (See John 20:11-15).
Both questions Jesus asked “Where is your faith?” (Luke 8:25) and “Who are you looking for?“(John 20:15) have to do with his identity. Neither the disciples nor Mary had yet figured out who Jesus really was.
Most, perhaps all, human fear and worry is due to this one truth: We don’t yet know who Jesus is. By honestly answering the questions Jesus asked, we can pinpoint the source of our fear and worry. When we realize that our faith is based on something totally unreliable, we are forced to look for something trustworthy. And when we recognize that we’re looking for the wrong thing, our blind eyes can then see the real thing, Jesus.
If your struggle has to do with loving God with your heart, ask yourself these two questions: “Where is my faith?” and “What am I looking for?”
Excerpted from the book Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn