Faith & Weakness

JC Ryle

“But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.” — Matthew 8:26

True saving faith is often mingled with much weakness and infirmity. It is a humbling lesson, but a very wholesome one.

We are told of our Lord and His disciples crossing the sea of Galilee in a boat. A storm arises, and the boat is in danger of being filled with water, by the waves that beat over it. Meanwhile our Lord is asleep. The frightened disciples awake Him, and cry to Him for help. He hears their cry and stills the waters with a word, so that there is “a great calm.” At the same time, He gently reproves the anxiety of His disciples. “Why are ye fearful, 0 ye of little faith!”

What a vivid picture we have here of the hearts of thousands of believers! How many have faith and love enough to forsake all for Christ’s sake, and follow Him whithersoever He goes, and yet are full of fears in the hour of trial! How many have grace enough to turn to Jesus in every trouble, crying, “Lord save us,” and yet not grace enough to lie still, and believe in the darkest hour that all is well! Truly believers have reason indeed to be “clothed with humility.”

Let the prayer  “Lord, increase our faith,” always form part of our daily petitions. We never perhaps know the weakness of our faith, until we are placed in the furnace of trial and anxiety. Blessed and happy is that person who finds by experience that his faith can stand the fire, and that he can say with Job, “though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.” (Job xiii. 15.)

We have great reason to thank God that Jesus, our great High-priest, is very compassionate and tenderhearted. He knows our frame. He considers our infirmities. He does not cast off His people because of defects. He pities even those whom he reproves. The prayer even of  “little faith” is heard, and gets an answer.

J.C. Ryle  “Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: St. Matthew”  1870.                               (1816-1900)

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