And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?
39And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
40And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
When I was a child, this passage puzzled me. I didn’t understand why Jesus rebuked the disciples, even gently. I knew if I were on the ship that was going down, I’d be waking up Jesus, too. What did they do wrong? Weren’t they right to go to Jesus with their problem? Wasn’t going to Jesus evidence that they did believe that He could do something? As I got older, I realized from Jesus’ words that they didn’t believe He could or would help them. I got the connection between fear and no faith (like when I’m not renewing my mind by reading and obeying God’s Word), but not because I really understood what they said wrong.
Now I’m looking again at this event. I see that telling Jesus about my problems isn’t evidence of my faith in His ability to help. It seems suspiciously like my children when I hear them whine that they want milk, and it’s not coming fast enough. They’re telling me about the need, aren’t they? What does the whiny tone reveal about how they are thinking?
In a younger child, whining and crying is very likely a transition from infancy, where crying to obtain something is acceptable (how else does a three month old communicate?), to an older age where the ability to use words is emerging. An older child may well have developed a habit, and whines simply because that’s the way he has always gotten his needs and desires met. Perhaps, though, whining reveals that a child doesn’t believe or trust I’m going to meet his needs or give him the assistance he desires.
Although I hear the whiny tone in my own voice and try not to do this, I’m also considering that the disciples were whining, even though their tone may have been matter-of-fact and without a nasal timbre. Am I in the habit of simply repeating my fears, problems, concerns to God, without specifically asking for something or asking without really believing He’ll answer?I’ve been thinking about this, and I think I’ve been praying differently.
Lee and I have been noticing how often we express desires by making casual statements (I’d like it if you would…) when communicating with each other. In some ways, it’s a sophisticated whine, without the tone. We’ve been trying to keep our requests requests, just like we’ve been asking of our children. I like it much better.
Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:24
How is God’s Word changing you this week? Are you thinking or doing anything differently?
Thanks for this reminder. I have actually had a new insight into a familiar scripture myself. In Matthew 6 Christ speaks about us having a “healthy eye”. He sandwiches this in between some thoughts on money. What does having a healthy eye have to do with how I see money or earthly treasures? Looking over at the parable in Matthew 20 where the workers who worked all day complained about getting paid the same as the workers who only worked one hour, Christ responded by saying “or do you begrudge my generosity?”. In my bible this statement is cross-referenced with Matthew 6:23 about having a healthy eye. Literally, “Is your eye bad because I am good”. I found myself convicted. I speak to my kids quite often about the laborers when I hear “that’s not fair” about a decision where one receives something good that the others don’t. I realized that I’m not always “happy” about God’s generosity to others when I am left out…it’s just usually about bigger things. ie. someone else gets a job and moves out of state (something my husband and I have been trying to do for 2 years now), missionaries we support having more “toys” and better computers than we do to name just a few. It has been a challenge to me. Is my eye bad and therefore dark because of Christ’s generosity to others? Working on that. Thanks again for your thoughts on whining Michelle. I catch myself doing it to!
Laura— I’ve been thinking about this several times this month. It’s been good for stopping wrong thinking on my part, too. Thanks for these thoughts. (And I like using this passage when dealing with fairness an children, too. Isn’t it fun how often sanctification grows from one sphere to the next!)