Jesus never made it easy on himself. He walked over the same stormy waves and against the same wind to get to his disciples. He understands your struggle.
It was incredibly hot yesterday so we went to the creek. In order to get there we had to go through this swampy area filled with downed trees, marshy water, and snakes - yes three of them. There were also signs posted that warned us about gators who frequented the area.
But we walked through this uncomfortable marshland on a safe, dry peaceful path.
The book of Mark has amazing stories of encouragement. Looking at the details of Chapter 6, verses 45 - 52, it outlines the experience that Jesus and his disciples had in a violent storm that came up on the sea of Galilee.
My abridged version of the story goes like this:
The disciples were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a violent storm came up. Jesus was on the shore praying and before daybreak He came walking out on the sea and got into the boat with the disciples. As soon as He climbed into the boat the storm stopped and they were able to continue on their journey to the other side where Jesus continued to minister.
Three things amaze me from this story.
First, it amazes me that Jesus didn't calm the storm as soon as He saw it. He knew the storm would come when he put the disciples in the boat. Because of the topography of the land, the Sea of Galilee was known for sudden fierce storms. But verses 47-48 tells us that even though Jesus saw the storm at the beginning of the evening He didn't leave until the fourth watch, which was between 3:00 – 6:00 AM. He knew about the storm but He waited.
Sometimes His answer is wait.
It also amazes me that while Jesus was still on the shore, He saw the disciples in the boat miles out on the sea of Galilee. But He not only saw them, verse 48 says that "he saw the disciples straining at the oars because the wind was against them". Now think about how difficult it would be to look miles into the darkness of the sea, through the rain, through the waves and through the wind to see the very strain on their face and the stress they were under. But regardless of the circumstances, He is God and He saw.
And it amazes me that Jesus didn't calm the storm in order to walk across the sea. He never made it easy on himself but chose to walk over the same stormy waves and against the same wind that his disciples were experiencing in order to get to them. He could have just appeared into the boat but He didn’t. He felt what they felt. He walked one step at a time through the storm so that He could experience their struggle.
It's hard. It's hard to have faith in a storm. It's not easy to have peace when you are in the middle of the sea, engulfed in darness with waves crashing around you and the wind tossing you around. It's not easy crying out to God and seeing no answer and seeing no change in your circumstances. The disciples probably spent hours crying out to Jesus while struggling for their very lives. I spent years crying out for an answer, thinking that God had ignored me, wasn't listening, didn't see my strain and didn't understand how I was suffering.
But now I know that He did.
He walked me over the danger of my storm unscathed. He may have let my storm rage for a period of time, for a season, but I was not alone. Looking back my life is a testament to His unwavering faithfulness to carry out His promises. He sees you. He understands your pain. So stand firm in His faithfulness.
My prayer today
“Father God we experience so many storms in our lives and some of those are the unseen storms that we experience only in our heads. The fear, anxiety, sadness, guilt, and doubt that we sometime fight are battles that no one else knows. The silent tears that we shed in the dark of night - you see and you feel. You may not stop our storm – but you have built that bridge of protection and peace across it.
We trust in the faithful, loving daddy that you are. Amen.”