Sometimes it's hard…But God is in control
We would all like our lives to be a series of victories one after the other. But for many of us, life is just not like that. Instead, it seems to be a series of problems and storms, and unfortunately, we live in an environment that encourages storms. These storms cause anxiety which leads us to have uncertainty and fear.
The truth is that fear is crippling and stifling many of us - the fear of losing a job, of old age, of money troubles and so much more. And, in today’s society there are many self-help ideas that make empty promises to deal with the storms of life and our fears. But, let’s look at the Word of God that makes firm promises to help us with these storms.
In Matthew 14, the disciples had just experienced another miracle with Jesus and were told to cross the Sea of Galilee but they got caught in a storm that threatened their lives. Their ship was in jeopardy of sinking and they were straining, “…the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.” Matthew 14:24 NIV.
We can draw four principles from the passage are:
1. Storms have purpose: Wasn’t it Jesus who sent them out onto this lake? Jesus wanted the disciples to get a new understanding about Himself. In the same way, the Lord sometimes carries storms in our lives to reveal Himself to us because, in God’s hands, storms have purpose! It all depends on how we respond. Oftentimes it is in our storms that we get a new understanding of Jesus.
2. Jesus is present in our storms. Jesus was present in their storm from the very beginning; “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray…the boat was already a considerable distance from land... During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.” Matthew 14: 23-25.
3. Jesus’ eyes were on them: Though at a distance, He knew their distress – He saw it all. Jesus sees your situation too and though at times it seems overwhelming, at just the right time He will intervene. God is a God of timing.
4. Jesus went to them: Though it was dark and cold Jesus found them. Have you ever been in a cold and dark place? Jesus is closer and more concerned about us than we recognise; and in the right time He reveals Himself in our midst.
5. Perception is critical - “…When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.” vs 25 - 26. Their deliverance was right there and instead of embracing Him, they were afraid of Him. To what extent is this true of us today? We limit Jesus, and even when He presents Himself in our storms, we are closed to the solution He provides because of our preconceptions.
6. Jesus has power- “But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." "Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water." "Come," he said.” Vs 26-29.
In these verses we see that following Jesus often requires two things, courage and trust. We learn that when we respond to the call – God gives us power. In Peter’s case, it was the power to walk on, and above the very thing that had been oppressing him just minutes before – fear. The storm was still raging, but God empowered Peter to walk. Sometimes God does not stop the storm but if we have the courage to trust Him we can walk on our storms. “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus,” vs 29.
Jesus gives us the same opportunity today. He calls out to us as we struggle in the boat of our despair, the question is how will we respond? “... But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?” vs 29-31.
Jesus is the solution to all of our problems and yet so many of us do not recognise Him or respond appropriately.
Keeping our eyes focused on Jesus is critical, but the key is that Jesus does not take His eyes off us. Notice that when the lesson was over Jesus carried Peter back to the place where it was once unsafe and makes it safe… “…when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.” vs 33.
Is there any place better than with Jesus? Are you going through a storm today? If so recognise that the same God who started Peter walking on the water is the same God who will save you when you are sinking and empower you to continue walking over your fears. Jesus said to those who follow Him, “I will never leave you nor will I forsake you…” and the same is true for you.