Friday, 16 September 2011
Under dark skies with the wind wildly blowing and causing the waves to be hurricane like in size and strength, they were all together in the boat. Their pulses raced with anxiety. Fear was on the verge of overpowering and overwhelming them as they frantically tried steering the vessel through the madness and the fierceness of the raging sea. They would row in one direction only to have to row in the other direction as the unrelenting, powerful winds were swirling all about them. The spray was stinging their eyes, and the waves were lapping up over the sides of the boat. The boat was taking on water, and the question of survival was racing through their minds. It was the storm of a lifetime for them and they could not rely on any past experience or self ability to get them through it.
The one they had been following had stayed on the land to spend time in prayer. Jesus had known that the storm was coming when He sent them to go across the sea, but they had to learn to trust Him, even when they did not see or feel His presence. They would have to expend all of their self before they could realize that He was all that they truly needed.
Jesus came to them in the darkest, most alarming hour of their storm, and He came in the most surprising way -- walking on top of the rough sea. As Jesus got close to the boat, the disciples were frightened. Jesus said to them, "It is I; do not be afraid." Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going" (John 6:20-21 ESV).
As I studied the account of Jesus walking on the water in the Gospels (Matthew 14:22-33, Mark 6:45-52, John 6:16-21), the Holy Spirit revealed to me the actions of Jesus that will help us as we trust Him during our storms of life: Jesus was watching out for His followers even when they did not realize it; Jesus was not threatened by the storm; Jesus rose above the storm and became prominent in the midst of it; Jesus gave them comfort; and Jesus got them safely through the storm. As Jesus spent time in prayer that night while the disciples toiled in the storm, I imagine that they were the focus of His prayers.
Jesus has not changed; He cares and watches over His followers just the same today coming to us and making His presence known in all the chaos, confusion, anxiety, fear, worry, and depression the storms of life can bring our way. Sometimes it's in the last half hour of the storm, but He always comes right in time. It may be in surprising ways, but He will come to us; He is never far away from His followers.
Beloved, Jesus knows what you are going through today and is constantly interceding to the Father on your behalf. He is making a way out and before you know it, He will have you safe and sound on solid ground. Don't let the fear of the storm overpower or overwhelm you. Jesus is teaching you to trust Him in all situations and to rely on His grace and peace that He freely gives to those who will receive. Everything around you may be falling apart, but you can rest assure that Jesus is on the way!
Know that you are loved,
Gregory A. Johnson