Mark 4:35-41 relates a story of Jesus and his disciples in a boat, being tossed about on a stormy sea. As we pick up the scene, Christ has just calmed the waves with a single command. Now he turns to his disciples and asks, “How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:40, NKJV).

You may think this sounds harsh. It was only human to be afraid in such a terrible storm, yet Jesus wasn’t chiding them for that reason. Look at what the disciples said to him as they awoke him. “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38). They questioned his goodness and attentiveness to their situation.

Can you imagine it? Jesus’ own disciples didn’t know him. He had personally called each of these men to follow him, and they had ministered alongside him to multitudes of people. They’d witnessed his mercy to lepers and outcasts; they’d seen him gather little children and bless them. They’d seen all this and more, but they were still strangers to who their master really was.

He was telling them, “After all this time, you still don’t understand my nature. How could you possibly walk with me for this long, and not know me intimately?”

Tragically, the same is true today. Many Christians have ridden in the boat with Jesus, ministered alongside him and reached multitudes in his name. Despite all this, they really don’t know their master. They haven’t spent intimate time shut in with him. They’ve never sat quietly in his presence, opening their hearts to him, waiting and listening to comprehend what he wants to say to them.

We see another scene regarding the disciples’ faith in the Gospel of Luke. The disciples came to Jesus, requesting, “Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5). Many Christians today ask the same question: “How can I obtain greater faith?” Unlike the disciples, though, they don’t seek the Lord himself for their answer.

So how did Jesus answer their request for faith? “Gird yourself and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken” (see Luke 17:6-8). Jesus was saying, in essence, “Put on your garment of patience. Then come to my table. I want you to feed me there. You happily labor for me all day long. Now I want you to commune with me. Sit down with me, open your heart, and learn of me.”

If you want increased faith, you must observe the Lord’s nature and patiently seek his presence.