And when He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. – Matthew 8:23
Two things are apparent about the situation that the disciples found themselves in in Matthew 8:24, when the storm arises, and the disciples are fearing for their lives:
1. Jesus knew what He was taking the disciples into.
2. The disciples encountered this trial and subsequent crisis of faith because they had followed Jesus.
Jesus had taught with authority and healed the sick. He had cast out demons. As a result of this the people followed Him: He was the genuine article; He spoke as He lived with no hypocrisy; He had power; He was worth following. Yet in order to bring the disciples to the point of becoming like the Master He needed to bring them through various trials in order to build their faith. He knew what He was taking them into, and He had a reason for so doing: to produce faith. Jesus only took them into the storm because He wanted them to grow.
Yet there are two sides to this. The disciples didn’t know what they were headed for, but they did choose to follow Jesus. It was this choice on their part that led them into the storm. We will not always fully understand how the choices we make affect our future, but we can be sure that when we choose to follow Jesus He will take us places we would rather not have gone. But this is only because we don’t understand what our Saviour is doing in our lives.
All too often we feel that our little boat is being swamped by waves. We need to understand that it could be because we have chosen to follow Jesus. We also need to understand that if that is the reason, then He is in control and we will not be overwhelmed. He can rebuke the storm at any time, but He would rather that we followed in faith trusting that He will only take us where He knows we should be for our ultimate benefit and His glory.