Last Tuesday, in ‘Oceans Deep, Part 3’, we saw that Jesus doesn’t always immediately come and “rescue” us from our storms, and sometimes, though we may see Him in the distance, it is as if He is going to pass us by. Could it be that His purpose is to grow our faith? That He simply wants to remind us that despite the storm, we are not alone? Does He perhaps want to show us, too, that despite the wind and the waves, we can follow His example and walk across the surface of the storm?
That’s a very pretty speculation, but I can’t walk on water. It isn’t humanly possible. The disciples knew this, and that is why the Bible records that they thought Jesus was a ghost:
“When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said…” (Matt 14:26)
In other words, despite the fact that they had just experienced and participated in the miraculous feeding of the 5000, in the midst of their storm, they didn’t even recognize Jesus. They thought He was a ghost, because He was doing something they didn’t consider possible.
It makes me think. In the midst of my storms, when it seems that Jesus is miles away, is it possible that He is actually very close by, but that I don’t see Him? Is it possible that He is doing something miraculous, but it is too fantastic for me to grasp? Is it possible that, like the disciples, I figure Jesus has truly abandoned me, and all I am seeing is a ‘ghost’?
Most of us would give anything for a miraculous healing. We would love to see our financial difficulties disappear into thin air. We would give anything for our kids to turn to God and our spouses to forgive us and return to us. But deep down inside, do we truly believe that healing is for us? That we could be the recipient of God’s miracles? When we see it happening to others, do we truly believe it is of God? Or like the disciples of old, do we simply think it is a ‘ghost’, something to be feared, certainly not something to be embraced and accepted?
This interesting thought has haunted me a bit of late: Is Jesus perhaps already pouring out His miracles upon us, but we are too afraid to embrace them?
At this stage in the story, the disciples do something vitally important. They: “…cried out in fear.” (Mat 14:26b)
Notice that they didn’t cry out in faith, or even surprise. They cried out in…Fear!
In other words, it doesn’t matter how we cry out. What’s important is that we do it! And at this stage in the ‘storm’ of our lives, I would encourage you, just like the father of the demon-possessed boy, to cry out–either in faith, surprise or fear–“Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!”
Jesus’ response to the disciples’ cry? “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
Let’s stop worrying whether or not our faith is weak. Let’s stop worrying whether or not we truly believe God’s miracles are for us. In the midst of our storm, let’s follow the example of the fearful disciples: Let’s cry out to Jesus!
But wait. With the wind and waves of life’s trials are crashing all around us, how is it possible to not be afraid?
I believe the answer lies in the response of the Apostle Peter: “‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.'” (Matt 14:28)
Peter was afraid; however, he knew that Jesus could save him, and this knowledge was enough to overcome his fear.
How was it that Peter knew Jesus could save him?
Peter walked and talked with Jesus daily. He had experienced Jesus’ miracles, he was a personal recipient of Jesus’ love.
When we are surrounded by the wind and waves of the negative circumstances life throws our way, we, too, are afraid, and this is normal; but do we, like Peter, know that Jesus will save us? Do we have that faith in Him?
Because most of us must honestly say that we do not, the question becomes, how do we develop that faith in Jesus?
We do it the same way Peter did: By daily walking and talking with Him; By experiencing His miracles; By spending time reflecting on what Jesus has already done for us and for others. When we do, then we, like Peter, in the face of our storms, will be able to say, “Lord, if it’s you…tell me to come to you on the water.” (Matt 14:28)
So when Jesus does call us out upon the waters, how should we respond? Join us next Saturday for ‘Oceans Deep, Part 5’.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Oceans Deep” mini-series, please click here.)