RIDING THE STORM
“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.” Matt 14:26-27 (NIV).
It had been a long day. John the Baptist had just been murdered, so Jesus decided to get away from everyone and have some quiet time alone with the Father. He told his disciples to get into a boat and go to the other side of the lake. Then He dismissed the crowd and went up to the mountainside to pray. Later that evening, Jesus wanted to catch up with His disciples. Not having a boat, He walked on the water to get to them. Jesus was displaying the power of spiritual laws over natural laws. He lived His life as an example of what is possible for us in this life. We too can operate in the supernatural.
Meanwhile, it was now about 3:00 am, and a violent storm had arisen. The storm was so vicious that the disciples began to despair. The issue now was not how to cross to the other side, it was how to stay alive. It had been busy for the disciples ministering with Jesus, they were exhausted, and only now to experience an intense storm. Meanwhile, it was Jesus who sent them on this journey. The boat ride was His idea. They were where they were supposed to be. They were not outside of the will of God, yet, they were battling a storm in the middle of the night.
This is a reminder that we would all face challenges from time to time. The disciples were learning, like all of us are, that when we walk with God, we encounter storms of life. Doing the right thing does not guarantee us a storm-free life, but it gives us the right to stand on the promises of God in the midst of the storm. The storms may come, but we have the ability to ride through untouched and unaffected.
However, the disciples had not yet built their capacity at this time to trust God fully. When they saw Jesus walking on the lake, they were afraid, thinking they had seen a ghost. Jesus immediately said to them “Do not be afraid, take courage. I am here!”. We don’t know how eleven disciples responded, but one of them, Peter, was fearless on that stormy night. He said, “Lord, if it is you, ask me to come into the water”.
- God loves to reveal Himself in the midst of the storms of life. He was about to reveal His divine power and presence to the disciples. These moments are called ‘defining moments’, when God shows Himself in the midst of difficult situations. In these defining moments, God may call us to do extraordinary things, and if we can only believe and respond appropriately, we would experience the power of God. Life is full of these defining moments. Sometimes, it could be a financial crisis, separation or divorce, or maybe a legal problem. Family squabbles, a runaway child, a pregnant daughter, or a son on drugs, can be very major storms. The opportunities these defining moments provide can be missed, because their timings are usually unexpected, the conditions like on the boat that night, are never right, and we are usually very fearful.
- Fear usually deprives us of God’s perspective in these situations. The disciples were obviously in a panic. There was confusion, doubt and unbelief on that boat that night, yet, Peter the man who could hear God in the midst of the storm, was about to experience something extraordinary. He recognized a defining moment to touch God for himself. He recognized a moment for spiritual growth and adventure. It was an extraordinary opportunity to do something very radical in the midst of the storm.
Lord, I choose to walk in faith and not in fear. Help me to recognize the defining moments in my life as seasons of growth and adventure.
- Matthew 8:26-27 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+8%3A26-27&version=NKJV
- Isaiah 50: 7 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+50%3A+7&version=NKJV
- John 16: 33 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+16%3A33&version=NKJV