“And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.” Mark 6: 46-48
The disciples had just seen the miraculous feeding of 5000 from just five loaves and two fishes. And now Jesus had sent them ahead across the Sea of Galilee while He went up into a mountain to pray. Sometime during their journey, a storm came upon them. And it appears this storm came upon them in the dead of night.
Having grown up on an island you become accustomed to traveling on the water. On many occasions we would travel at night to either return to the island from the mainland or to head to the mainland. But these trips were almost always on calm waters. One night, on the eve of my younger brother’s funeral, several boatloads of family and friends were crossing the river to catch a charter plane at the airport on the mainland. That night, the wind was strong. It was not a very comfortable ride. One boat came close to capsizing. From what I was told, there were more than a few screams or terror. It was a very scary moment for those that were on board.
Maybe the disciples were accustomed to traveling at night. But no matter how seaworthy and tested anyone is, there is always a fear that grips you in the midst of the waves, especially at night when you cannot see. It’s not so much the waves that scare you; it’s not being able to see that shakes you. I can hear them yelling at each other, blaming one another for their predicament. Maybe Matthew yelled out “Peter, this is your fault. We should have stayed with Jesus.” Peter yells back, “It was Him who told us to go. Jesus was the one who told us to make this journey. Why are you blaming me?!” They become angry with one another and then in the darkness someone cries out “WE’RE NOT GOING TO MAKE IT! WE’RE GOING TO DIE HERE TONIGHT!”
The past few weeks, or the past year for that matter, my wife and I have been in the midst of such intense storms that it seems like as much as we press forward we are not gaining any ground. Our enemies and circumstances have come hard against us. Discouragement and despair oftentimes have overwhelmed us. It seems as if we are all alone in the storm. It seemed like no one cared what we were going through. It seemed like there was not one friend we could lean on. Darkness surrounds us. The unseen is stirred up angrily against us. We can’t see what lies ahead or what the outcome will be. Fear, doubt, and worry, at times, will grip our hearts. Sometimes fear will grip your heart and a voice will shout at you in the midst of the storm “You’re not going to make it!” Sometimes the storm is so strong that you even begin to wonder, “Where are you Lord? I’ve obeyed your Word. I’ve followed you diligently obeying and listening to your every command. I have given you everything and now my faith is about to fail Lord! Why aren’t you helping me?!” The storm shakes everything. Even your faith.
But this verse reminded me that even in the midst of the storm, Jesus is praying. He is praying for us. He knows about the storms that come even before they arrive. He does not send us into any storm without covering us with His prayers. The Lord of the universe, the King of Kings is praying for you right now as you go through the storm of your life. We absolutely love the brothers and sisters who pray for us during times of difficulty, but I am overjoyed and filled with amazement and gratefulness that my Saviour is praying for me.
The other part of this verse that we can rejoice in is that even in the midst of the darkness Jesus was able to see the disciples as they faced the wind and waves. I believe that it was not with human eyes that He saw them, but through the Spirit that He was able to see exactly where they were and what they were experiencing! No matter where you are, no matter what you are going through, no matter how dark or how distressing it may be, be encouraged to know that Jesus Christ knows exactly what you are facing!
I wondered about the last part of the verse that says He came to them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. How dreadful the thought that God Himself would leave you in the midst of the storm and pass you by. But I realized that Christ knew they were safe. He had prayed for them. He had given the commandment and as long as they were following in obedience they were safe. And even if anything were to happen, He was right there. He came to them upon the very thing they feared the most. He came to them showing them that He conquers all fears! He is more than capable to save us from even the fiercest storms. What an incredible thought!
Toady, you may be facing the most intense spiritual storm you have ever faced. Maybe you are faced with failing faith and fear has gripped your heart. Whatever it is, be encouraged to know that as long as you are continuing in obedience, do not turn back. You see, the disciples knew what turning back would have meant. One thing I learned from my older brother who is an experienced mariner in navigating a boat in a storm is to always face the wind. Turning away from the wind exposes the boat to the full brunt of the wind’s force. Turning back would have meant certain death for the wind would have caught the broadside of the boat and sent the disciples hurling into the sea and to their death. Stay the course my brothers and sisters. Continue in obedience and be encouraged to know that this storm will pass. Just stay the course and know that your Saviour is right there with you and He has already overcome your greatest fear in the midst of this storm. He has prayed for you, He is watching over you, and He is right there with you.
Stay the course, Beloved.
©2012 His Beloved Remnant Ministries