In Matthew 14, we read about a storm on the Sea of Galilee. After a busy day feeding a crowd with five loaves and two fish, Jesus sent His disciples across the Sea of Galilee in a boat.
We pick up the story here:
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn, Jesus went out to them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” ~Matthew 14:22-27The next few verses share how Peter bravely got out of the boat to walk on the water with Jesus, but let’s stay with what has happened so far.
Jesus had sent the disciples out onto open water while He stayed behind to pray. He watched from the shore as a dark cloud shadowed the setting sun and the first ominous winds began to blow. The storm arrived, sweeping down from the mountain, churning the sea into a dangerous caldron. Jesus saw the storm. He saw the disciples in their fragile boat. He watched them. He prayed for them.
Out in the middle of the pitch dark and storm tossed Sea of Galilee were the frightened disciples. Mark 6 gives an account of the same situation. Mark said that the men were straining against the storm. They were rowing for their lives with great pain and torment of body and soul. Rowing against the wind, fighting for every inch of headway, struggling, frightened, despairing for their lives. They did not know that Jesus could hear their cries. They thought He was out of reach.
But Jesus did see and hear. He did not watch them from a safe distance. He moved to act on their behalf. Jesus stepped onto the water to meet them in their need. He came, walking into the dark of night, into the howling wind, into the fury of the storm. Emmanuel, God With Us stepping out into the raging storm for His disciples, for us.
In storms, there are days when things go against us. Days when the waters are troubled and the wind blows hard. We walk into the wind making no progress at all. But in the same way that Jesus saw the disciples in their storm, He sees you and me in ours. He knows when the wind blows against us. He sees our struggles and disappointments. He sees us strain at the oars. Jesus doesn’t just watch. When the time is right, He comes to us in the midst of the storm.
When Jesus climbed into the boat, the winds ceased, the noise stopped, and the sea calmed. The disciples saw that when Jesus is there, you have everything that you need.
Peace doesn't come from finding a lake with no storms. It comes from having Jesus in the boat. ~The Me I Want To Be, John Ortberg
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