Life Can Be Overwhelming
One day, Jesus told His men to take a boat across the lake while He went up the mountain to pray. Late at night, the men still hadn’t reached the shore and a storm came through. Several of them were experienced fishermen who had been in countless storms, but this time, they knew they were in big trouble! They thought they’d drown.
“Immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’" (Matthew 14:27, NKJV)
What is happening? Read Psalm 77:16-19. “The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed. The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth. Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen” (NIV) (probably referring to parting the Red Sea). Job said, “He alone spreads out the heavens, And treads on the waves of the sea.” (Job 9:8, NKJV)
Do you know what was happening in Matthew 14:27? They thought they saw a ghost. What they actually saw was the God of the Old Testament who assumed our humanity. The passage shows us that the God of the Old Testament has come down to stride into our mess. To show us conclusivel that He walks/strides over the things we sink under.
In the middle of the raging waves and howling wind, they could faintly see a figure walking on the water toward them. The fear of drowning suddenly paled next to the fear of being visited by a ghost. But it wasn’t a ghost. It was Jesus! Jesus, the flesh-and-blood Son of God approached them. I wonder, did He have a smile on His face when He told them, “Be of good cheer, guys! It’s Me. There’s no need to be afraid.” The little expression translated, “it is I,” is the same as, “I Am” in the original language. Of course, they knew perfectly well when Jesus said, “I Am”, He is making a claim of Deity. What is happening? The living God is walking into their storm. He is walking over what they’re sinking under. He lets them know they can take courage.
From time to time we feel overwhelmed by storms in our lives, too. Sometimes they occur because we’ve made dumb mistakes and we experience the consequences. Other times they occur because we’ve decided to follow Jesus. And yet other times, they occur as a result of living life under the sun. Whatever the storms may be, Jesus reminds us that storms aren’t an obstacle for Him. He will provide for us.
The problem is, we often embark on our spiritual pilgrimage with mislead enthusiasm. We might come because we have a need, and we’ve heard that the Lord will meet that need. We’re enthusiastic about getting our needs met, and with tremendous joy and exuberance, we commit ourselves to Him. Then, we run into some problems and they begin to absorb us. We lose sight of the One who treads in the waves and leaves no footprints. The One who says, “Don’t fear, be of good courage, I Am.”
How firm is our faith? Is our faith firm enough for sinking situations? How does our soul look after that prod?
Peter yells out, “Lord, save me!” and the Lord lifts Him up. Shortly after, a calm settles over the waves and they’re safe.
"The center of God’s will is our only safety." — Betsie ten Boom