On that day, when evening came, He said to them, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, "Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?" And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, "Hush, be still." And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?" They became very much afraid and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?"
Mark 4:35-41 (NASB)
What does faith look like?
The disciples were going through a bad time. The fishermen among them, especially, knew exactly how bad this storm was, and what the odds were that they would make it through safely. It is difficult to believe they were overselling the severity of the storm; the tax collector and the zealot might have gone their whole lives without encountering a storm-tossed sea, but according to Luke 5:5 the fishermen were accustomed to working through the dark night on this very sea, and must have operated with little warning about coming storms, considering they apparently noticed no signs of this one.
So they are doing the best that they can in the circumstances. And they know Jesus can do something, otherwise they wouldn't bother calling for Him. It is unclear, of course, what exactly they expected Him to do, maybe it was as simple as bailing water out of the boat. Regardless, when Jesus was done calming the storm, He turned to them and asked them about the state of their faith. It seems that their actions, marked by fear while trying to solve the situation on their own power, were not particularly full of faith. But they did call on Jesus to help them, right? Isn't that enough?
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Psalm 23:4-5 (NASB)
Consider the example of David. What sort of faith does he display in this psalm? There is no fear, only trust. David proclaims that he can face any situation, no matter how dire, as long as God is with him. Not only that, but while enemy forces gather around him, he is content to sit and enjoy the blessing God has laid out before him. There is no room for staring anxiously over the roast to make sure the enemies aren't drawing closer. There is no place for putting aside a full cup until the problem of being surrounded is resolved.
The disciples had their eyes on the storm and the sea. And Jesus worked to draw their eyes back to Him, though the act of doing so fills them with fear of His awesome power. In this psalm, however, David has his eyes on the blessings and power of God, and is able to enjoy a feast and anointing. Where we fix our eyes matters. Let us fix them on Him.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation