Background Reading: Mark 6: 47 – 52
The disciples were in the middle of the sea when a violent tempest came upon them. They were not prepared for it. They didn’t see it coming. They strained their arms rowing with the oars trying to navigate their way through the storm to no success. They tried to keep the water out of the boat to no success. They tried to keep their faith alive, to no success.
This struggle went on for hours and the disciples eventually lost strength as well as hope.
But just as they were about to surrender to the reckless winds and waves, they saw a mysterious figure approaching them on the water. Terror overpowered them and they cried out in fear, thinking it was a ghost. They thought He that was moving toward them upon the white-capped billows of the sea was an enemy.
Their fears were off – for it was Jesus.
Jesus immediately identified Himself, silenced their fears and controlled the situation when He calmly uttered, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” He then went into the boat and the winds ceased, “and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.” The disciples, and others who also were on board, bowed at the feet of Jesus with thankful hearts, saying, “Of a truth Thou art the Son of God!”
It took a storm for them to declare that Jesus was the Son of God.
Sometimes, we miss Jesus. Sometimes, even after He quiets the storm, we fail to recognize that it was Jesus on our ship all along, taking full command of the situation. We become so focused on rowing to keep our boats afloat and keeping the elements out of our boats that we miss seeing Jesus passing by, ready to help us. Even when He speaks and identifies Himself, we fail to recognize that it is God before us and not the enemy or an enemy.
We have missed too many lessons in grace, answered prayers, or deeper encounters with Jesus, because we remained fretted and focused on the storm that surrounded us.
Lord help me never to miss seeing You.
Jesus had observed the disciples struggling in the storm. He did not take His eyes off of the boat even when the wind and waves tossed it like a rag doll from left to right. It was when they had surrendered to their fears and given up on saving themselves, that Jesus showed up and moved closer toward them. Jesus still operates the same with us today. Only when we have exhausted all our self help options, quelled our selfish desires and subdued our spirits in humility, can we open our hearts to allow something greater and bigger than ourselves to take charge of the situation.
But why doesn’t God just ambush our futile attempts of self-help and save the day?
Because to take away our freedom of choice is not part of His loving leadership.
The violent storm that came upon the disciples was a vast contrast to the day before that almost seemed perfect. If you read verses before our scriptural focus, you’ll realize that on the boat, the disciples were a bit dissatisfied as they were unable to crown Jesus as King. Out of good intentions, they wanted to exalt Jesus for the King that He was. But Jesus did not allow them, clearly because the timing was not right and their plans greatly differed from the plans of His Father – God. The disciples became absorbed in their emotions and it took a violent storm to shift their attention. I am guilty of this. Sometimes I allow afflictions to occupy my mind and absorb my time and attention and it takes God sending a storm of some sort, to help me to refocus on what truly matters or who truly matters.
Lord, thank You for grabbing our attention and shifting our focus on what is necessary….by the storms You send our way.
Some bible scholars hint that the disciples’ experience at sea was a test for the greater storm that would soon preceded — the crucifixion of Jesus. There is little evidence in the bible to validate that thought but it is one we can toy with nonetheless. The storms that we experience now are allowed to toss and twist our life’s boat to prepare us to trust God fully and completely in the time that precedes His return. These current storms are teaching us to give up the unnecessary, clearly recognize His voice, surrender our fears and more importantly our faiths to Christ and allow Him to dwell within our life’s boat, commanding and directing the troubled waters and winds that surround us. Why? For what is done in these days will be done in the days to come. Christ is helping us to form natural habits that will authentically manifest themselves even under great pressure and persecution.
Prayer: Lord sometimes I fail to realize my need to constantly depend on You. I trust that my feet are secure and I shall not be moved. I trust that I am strong enough to handle the storm. But the enemy observes me just as you do and is carefully planning to take advantage of my hereditary and cultivated traits of character, and blind my eyes to my need for You. Help me to hear your voice, see what You are doing in my life and trust You fully. Help me to not miss what you are doing in the storm.
Peace, Love and Joy,
(C) 2016, Dentrecia Blanchette