Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Faith to Walk on Water

It had been a long day spent teaching and feeding the multitudes. Jesus was tired. He knew what He needed to renew His soul was to spend time alone with His Father.

Calling His disciples to Himself, Jesus asked them to take the ship and cross over to the other side of the lake while He stayed behind to send the multitude of people away.
His disciples objected ; Jesus' plan made no sense to them. I’m sure they appealed to Jesus’ logic saying… “But what is the point of us going to the other side of the lake if you aren’t coming? We’ll just have to come back to get you anyway ! Why can’t we just stay here and help you disperse the crowds and then wait until you are ready to go too?”
But Jesus had other plans, and in the end constrained them to do as He asked.

When finally He had persuaded all the people to return home, Jesus went up into the mountain, alone, so that He could pray .

Meanwhile , the disciples were out on the sea , having rowed about halfway across the lake. A violent wind arose and the sea became very rough, tossing them to and fro.
I’m sure they must have regretted following Jesus’ command to cross the lake….if only they had stayed on land where they were safe they would not be in this predicament now.
I suppose that they did not make much headway rowing against the wind because they were still there between 3:00 and 6:00 am the next morning.

Then one of them spotted a strange apparition coming toward them in the early mist of morning, and pointed it out to the others. In their terror, they shouted “It is a spirit!”
But then a familiar voice sounded over the howling wind and crashing waves, calming their fears… It was Jesus and He called out, “Be of good cheer ; it is I; be not afraid.”

Peter , always the impulsive one, his emotions thrown into reverse when he realized it was Jesus and not a ghost blurted out, “Well, Lord, if it really is You , then tell me to come walk on the water with You!”
Jesus called cheerfully, “Come!”
And Peter , I’m sure with the other disciples watching him with their mouths open, stepped out of the boat and took several steps on the water.
But then very quickly his bravado melted, he realized what he was doing and looking down saw the wind whipping up boisterous waves and he began to sink
And he cried, “Lord, save me!”
Immediately , Jesus reached out His hand and pulled him up out of the water with a gentle rebuke.. “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
As soon as Jesus and Peter stepped into the ship, the wind ceased.
The disciples recognized that they had just had a supernatural experience and they were in awe of this Jesus who they saw was no ordinary man. They acknowleged that surely He must be the Son of God.

I believe that it was not a co-incident , but rather a ‘God-incident’ that the disciples were caught in the storm. They had been ‘set up’ to witness the miracle power of Jesus.
Doesn’t God do the same thing in our lives? Sometimes the things that cause us to cry out in fear “Why?” are things that God has sent into our lives so that He can show Himself powerful on our behalf, and to teach us that truly He is worthy of our trust no matter what befalls us.

Sometimes what God asks us to do does not make sense to us… we feel that we have a much more logical plan. But God’s ways are so much higher than ours, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. ( Isaiah 55:9) When will we learn that God’s plan is always better than ours, and if we follow His instructions we will never be where His love cannot reach us..

We are all like Peter , aren’t we? We can do the Christian talk fluently…. but then when we are confronted with acting it out , suddenly our bravado melts and we feel we are drowning. But isn’t it reassuring that Jesus ‘IMMEDIATELY’ was there to grasp hold of Peter before he sank?

When we are walking through our days…. and we look down…. we are immediately in trouble.
(Isn’t it interesting how this truth is reflected in our common language? We say ‘we are down’ when we feel depressed or sad, we say ‘things are looking up’ when our day is going well. )

When we look down we see our problems, when we look up we see our answers.
When we look down we see only ourselves, when we look up we see Jesus.
When we look down our view is very limited , when we look up the sky of possibilities opens before us.
When we look down we see our weakness, when we look up we see His strength.

When Jesus spoke to reassure the disciples that it was He, He spoke to them in the midst of the storm. He did not immediately still the storm as He of course could have. But He waited to give the disciples the opportunity to trust Him IN the storm.
And His words were , “Be of good cheer !” Why? because He was bigger than the storm…. He held power over it, to protect in the midst of it as well as to still it…. there was nothing to fear.
So also in our storms of life… we may be still in the throes of our distress… with no answers in sight…. but Jesus says, “Be of good cheer! I have overcome the world .” (John 16:33)
There is no storm of life that He does not hold in His hand.

Are we like Peter , we begin to trust and then falter? Or are we strong in our faith, believing that “God is our refuge and strength a very present help in time of trouble” ( Ps. 46:1) … and "He has delivered us and will deliver us !” (II Cor. 1:10)

Walking on the water of life… holding Jesus' hand…. what joy, what blessing !!


Lovella said...

I love that "BE OF GOOD CHEER". So simple and I can see that a smile was involved. When I say to someone, come on, cheer up I usually have a friendly face. I'm sure he did too.
Oh that I would keep my eyes fixed on Jesus.

Yokooso said...

My favourite excerpt of this post Julie was this:

"But He waited to give the disciples the opportunity to trust Him IN the storm."

That is so true!!! This life is not to be easy is it?

And if we know our Lord Jesus Christ we are truly BLESSED hey? Because then we know that Jesus IS there to help us in our troubles.