Part 1 of 4
As we head into Fall, and a new season, it’s the perfect time to evaluate our lives, habits, and goals. As I ponder what I can share to encourage and exhort others, I keep returning to a message I shared a few years ago called Taking A Step Toward Jesus. So over the next few posts, I will be going through a familiar passage to many of us, Matthew 14:22-33 ESV:
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. 26 But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
Quick thought here: This is a little different. Seeing Jesus walking on the water is not a normal occurrence. The disciples are scared, ad frankly I would be too. Let’s pick back up in verse 28:
28 And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29 He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” 31 Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
I want to unpack this passage a little bit before I get to today’s application. Jesus had just done an incredible miracle. He fed 5,000 men plus women and children. He fed this huge crowd on with just 5 loaves of bread and two fish. With a family meal, Jesus fed a city.
Everyone was so excited (you and I would be too)! They wanted to make Jesus a king. But since that wasn’t his purpose, he sent the crowd away and his disciples as well. So while the disciples sail to the other side of a huge lake, Jesus goes up on a mountain for some quiet time and to pray. But the disciples were about to encounter some major issues.
And that brings me to today’s point: God Will Allow Us to Encounter Storms.
Look at verse 24: But the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. I’m not much for boating, but this doesn’t sound good. But doesn’t life just feel that way sometimes? The wind blows against you. You try to do something, even the right thing, but it seems like you meet opposition all the time.
Remember, the disciples were doing what Jesus told them to do. Even though they followed the direction of Jesus they went straight into a storm, and now they didn’t see him with them. This wasn’t the first time they experienced the storm, but the last time they were in a storm, Jesus was physically there with them. Now? They are seemingly all alone.
God Will Allow Us to Encounter Storms. That’s not a pleasant thought. But we can always count on God to be honest with us. Life brings storms. And it can be really difficult for us to understand God’s promises of peace and provision when we have this account of Jesus sending his followers into a storm without him.
But what seems like a setup for failure is oftentimes a setup for God to SHOW UP in an unexpected way. We’ll see more about that in the next post.
For now? Remember that just because you may be in a storm doesn’t mean that Jesus doesn’t know or care. Even his disciples encountered rough seas. And perhaps for you, life is smooth sailing right now. Don’t take the calm for granted. Sometime soon Jesus may call you to take a step towards him, a step into the storm.