May 24, 2018
“Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.” Mark 6:47-48a (NIV)
Have you ever walked through something so difficult, so terrifying, that you’ve caught yourself asking, “Jesus, where are You?”
Sometimes when life gets messy, it can feel like our Messiah has gone missing.
I’m sure that’s how the disciples felt in an incident that happened right after the feeding of the 5,000. They got in a boat and quickly found themselves in rough waters, tossed by strong winds. They strained at the oars as the realities of life beat against them.
This storm was a terrifying mess for them. The waves weren’t just ebbing, cresting and crashing like you’ve probably seen if you’ve ever been in rough waters. These waves were bubbling up and exploding all around them in unpredictable ways. Think what it looks like when you place a straw in a glass of water and blow with great force. They couldn't brace themselves or their boat. They were completely helpless and swallowed up by fear.
I certainly can’t blame them for being afraid in that moment. Sometimes it’s hard not to be completely consumed by fear in the midst of our messes, isn’t it? Especially when we feel helpless and our circumstances look hopeless.
Oh, how thankful I am that even when our storms cause us to lose sight of hope, Jesus never loses sight of us.
While the disciples were in the boat straining, Jesus was on the mountainside praying. From Mount Arbel, Jesus could see the middle of the lake where the disciples were. “Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them” (Mark 6:47-48a).
Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they almost completely missed the miracle in the midst of their mess.
The same miracle worker who multiplied the fish and the loaves was now walking on water near them, and they thought He was a ghost. They were terrified and then amazed, but they didn't understand, for the Scriptures say, “their hearts were hardened” (Mark 6:52b, NIV).
What I want us to notice, though, is Jesus’ response to the disciples who missed Him and who cried out in fear, not faith. The Scripture says immediately (I love that it was immediate) He spoke to them and said, “Don’t be afraid” (Mark 6:50b, NIV). The word used here means “don’t resist Me.” And He climbed into the boat with them.
He’s saying the same thing to you and me. He’s not running from our messes. He’s climbing in it to be right there with us. And with His presence comes peace.
He wants us to see Him and know Him — truths we discover not just in this passage, but all throughout Scripture. The same God who willingly revealed Himself to Moses (Exodus 33:19, Exodus 33:22, Exodus 34:6) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-13) as He passed by them wants to reveal the fullness of His peace and the power of His presence to us as well.
In the midst of whatever hurts and heartbreaks are disrupting our peace, I pray we will see Him coming. We no longer have to cry out in fear; we can call out in faith. Calm and trusting. Anxious for nothing. Because we know. We know He sees us. We know He’s for us. We know He’s in control.
Yes. The Lord is near. And we are safe.
Oh Lord, let me see this. Please don’t let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence. Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me. And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (NIV)
Release the tension of wondering, If God is near, why does He sometimes feel far away? by spending intentional, guided time with Him each day. Lysa TerKeurst’s new devotional, Embraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close, will help you do just that. Order your copy here today.
Want to know if Lysa TerKeurst is speaking in a town near you soon? Check out her speaking schedule here.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Are you in the middle of a difficult season in your life right now? Take some time this week to memorize Isaiah 41:10. Declare it out loud as a reminder to your own heart that the Lord is with you.
Join the conversation! Share your thoughts about how God has met you and comforted when you were afraid or wondering where He is.
© 2018 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.
Originally published Thursday, 24 May 2018.