It was dark. The wind blew fiercely across the water and waves tumbled and crashed in the inky blackness. Higher and higher they rose as the night wore on. In the middle of the sea, a fishing boat struggled.
Despite the weather, the little boat did not turn around. Although all the other little boats were safely tucked away in the harbor, the Master had given the men aboard this boat a special commission – to cross to the other side of the sea.
They must obey the Master at all costs. They must press on. It was all hands on deck for the twelve men on this ship. Yet, despite their best efforts, the winds were too strong for them. So they floundered, battered by the waves, all the while refusing to quit, refusing to give in.
At about four in the morning, while it was still dark, one of the sailors suddenly cried out in terror. “Look!” he screamed. “There’s something white floating across the water!”
“It’s a ghost!” someone cried. The men began to panic.
And then, above the roaring wind and the tumultuous waves, the Master’s voice spoke. “Be brave. Have courage. It’s me, Jesus.”
This Bible story really spoke to me today. It’s jam-packed with lessons. Let’s start with this little nugget, which I came across in a commentary: Jesus knew the weather would be bad. Still, He sent his disciples into the storm.
Have you ever experienced that? You obey the nudging of the Holy Spirit only to find yourself in the midst of a difficult and trying situation. You go where God tells you to go only to encounter a test of faith.
This happened to my husband and I recently. It’s a good thing too. Sometimes God leads us into storms in order to build our character and teach us important lessons. So we must continue to obey. We must press on!
Which brings us to the next little nugget: Jesus came to His disciples in the storm.
Mark 6:48 says that, before He even left land, “[Jesus] saw the disciples straining at the oars.” We may experience difficulty for a season, but our deliverer sees us and He will come. Jesus does not leave us to flounder.
I remember a girl from cell group who used to request prayer week after week for her job situation. For months, nothing changed. But Jesus was watching. And the perfect job for her was on its way. After about a year (maybe longer) of persistent prayer, this girl was offered a position in her field – with perks that included traveling overseas.
There was another girl who brokenly requested prayer week after week because she and her husband couldn’t have children. For two years, nothing changed. Again, Jesus was watching. This girl ended up giving birth to a sweet little daughter followed by an equally sweet little son.
Aren’t these stories encouraging? I’m not saying that Jesus will always give us everything we ask for. He’s not a genie. But He sees us as we strain at the oars. And, even if it’s just to walk through the storm with us, He always responds.
So if you’re in the middle of a storm today, take heart! Your deliverer is on His way!