Sometimes Jesus is in your boat asleep. Sometimes He’s nowhere to be seen.
I’ve recently reviewed two storm-calming miracles of Jesus. In one of them, Jesus is in the boat. In spite of His presence, a great storm provoked great fear in His disciples.
In another recorded storm, the disciples are without Jesus. Read about this one here, in Matthew 14:22-33.
What’s up? He and the whole ministry team were likely fatigued. They had been feeding the multitudes and healing the sick. By this time, the crowds were ready to seize Him and force Him to be King. They wanted a political uprising to crush the powers that occupied and dominated their culture.
Jesus dismissed the crowds so they could stay on mission with the master plan. He made them get in the boat, and He headed up the mountain for prayer.
That’s when things get troublesome. At what appears to be halfway across this body of water, an epic storm rolls up at the most inconvenient time. Now, they must use every ounce of nautical skills they can muster to navigate to the other side.
The last time they found themselves in a similar storm, Jesus was on board their boat (Matthew 8). This time, the storm is raging heavy, and He is not there to awaken. Whatever would they do?
You might feel all alone in the boat, but you are never alone in the storm. In the midst of your struggles, you are never out of the reach of Jesus. He is your refuge and strength, a very present help in your troubles.
He sent them. They’d seen so many miracles. And with Him in the boat during a previous time, they learned that storms obey His command. But now Jesus is not there. Can you believe God for His miracle working power even when His presence seems afar?
He saw them. Jesus knew exactly where they were on the water. The text describes them as literally being many stadia away. This means many hundreds of yards away. But no distance is too great when your God sees all and know all.
He came to them. Jesus was right on time. Immediately, they didn’t recognize Him because they had given into fear. Let’s face it. Storms are scary, and the temptation to give in to fear is always present. Even if He has to suspend the laws of nature, Jesus will come to the rescue of His own.
He talked to them. Jesus showed up with comforting words. Walking on water and speaking to them, He brought courage to their fear-filled hearts. Peter is like (my paraphrase), since it’s definitely you and your walking on water, I could do that too at your command. Jesus simply says “Come.”
Peter walked with Him. Peter stepped out and walked to within an arm’s length of Jesus. But the storm is still raging, and Peter realized that. That’s when he started to sink. But at least he had faith to step out, and Jesus rewarded his faith.
He rescued Peter. Jesus honored Peter’s faith. Even though he allowed fear to breed doubt, Jesus saved him. I keep wondering why more of them didn’t get out of the boat. Real faith works. You have to get out of the boat in order to walk on the water.
He stopped the storm. Hand in hand, Jesus and Peter walk to the boat and get in. Immediately, the storm ceased and life was calm once again. This storm was not designed to take them out of this world, but to take to greater quality of faith. A new level of faith was needed because they would soon face new devils.
Perhaps the storm you’re in is not because of disobedience. You could be there because Jesus told you to get on the boat and go to the other side. Take courage, my friend. If Jesus said for you to load up and go to the other side, you’re going to make it through the storm.
After all, the waves and wind still know His name. You can let go and trust in Him.