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 lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, 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 14:24-27 ESV)
Yesterday Jesus ordered the disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. But the men were apparently having a tough time rowing the boat because the wind was against it. The difficulty of the situation is revealed by the fact that they still had not crossed the lake shortly before dawn. They rowed all night and didn’t make much progress.
Then Jesus enters into the midst of their struggle. Jesus is always there to help us in our time of need. The Bible doesn’t say, but perhaps these young men were a bit resentful at Jesus for not being with them. Perhaps they were angry that He sent them out into a very difficult situation.
If so, all they needed to do was remind themselves of what they had just recently experienced. They had just witnessed Jesus’ compassion when He miraculously feed thousands of people – a situation that seemed hopeless [Matthew 14:17-21].
It is not uncommon for God to teach us a great lesson about Him that should advance our faith and then to immediately test that faith by putting us in a difficult situation. So often, though, we forget the lesson that we learned and instead of responding with faith, we respond with fear or resentment.
Life is often stormy. Things often go against us and prevent us from achieving our goals or even the goals that God has called us to. We struggle to overcome our own temptations and past sins and failures. We may conclude that our situation is hopeless. But it never is because God is always with those who are His children.
No matter what a child of God goes through Jesus is right there with us. He promises to never leave us [Deuteronomy 31:6]. Additionally, He will often enter the difficulties of our life in ways we don’t expect. The disciples certainly never expected Jesus to walk on the lake to come to them.
Notice that the disciples first mistook the benevolent Jesus for something that terrified them (a ghost). Sometimes God enters our life in ways that are scary or not understandable. Perhaps we lose a job or have medical issues. Perhaps an annoying neighbor moves in next door.
So often we resent these difficulties and want to “correct” them or remove them from our lives, not realizing that they just might be God’s way of testing our faith. In those situations we should take courage and not be afraid. We should look for Jesus in that situation and once we find Him and realize He was there all the time, our faith will be stronger.
Comments? Questions? I’d love to hear from you. Please feel free to contact me about this post.