By Brooke Holt
"Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them." Matthew 14:22-24
Since both my husband and father-in-law are avid fishermen, we have taken many family outings on the water. I vividly remember one outing when our children were quite young. As we fished offshore, I saw a storm in the distance. I mentioned it but was dismissed. As the sky grew darker and more ominous, I again mentioned the storm and strongly suggested we start heading back. We did begin our return trip though not as quickly as I would have liked. Sure enough, my fears and suggestions proved right as we ended up in the middle of a very strong storm. Winds howled, rain and sea water drenched us, and we had very limited visibility. To say I felt afraid is the ultimate understatement. I held my children as tightly as I could and prayed fervently for a safe arrival on shore.
Clearly, we arrived safely, but the trip was not pleasant! Even my very experienced father-in-law confessed we were in unsafe conditions. In today’s passage from Matthew, the disciples find themselves in these very conditions. Bear in mind, they had not passed the day relaxing on the water. Instead, they had spent the entire day doing full-blown ministry with Jesus. At the end of that long day, after Jesus miraculously fed everyone, he sent the disciples on their way, dismissed the crowds, and then walked up the mountain to pray.
While Jesus spent time with his Father, the disciples found themselves in this horrible storm. As the winds and the waves beat against the boat, I feel certain they entertained many questions: “why is this happening to us?” or “where is Jesus when you need him?”. You know the questions because you have asked them, too. Hard times hit and you question God – “why me” or “why do you allow these terrible things to happen?”
Did Jesus know what the disciples were facing? He absolutely did, and he had a plan to deliver his beloved friends. However, he also had more lessons for them to learn. Throughout his time with them, Jesus was teaching them who he was, what he had come to do, and that he had authority over all things – illnesses, infirmities, demons, as well as the winds and the waves. Eventually, these fearful men would become men of great faith. They developed that faith through the storms.
During the storms of your life, you, too, may ask the “why” questions. In their storm, the disciples discovered Jesus knew about the storm, and he had a plan and timing for their rescue. They also came to know Jesus truly is in control of every storm. He came to them on the water, was present with them, and he rescued them.
He will do the same for you through every storm. Even when you do not think he sees you or knows what is happening, Jesus is there. He sees; he knows; and he has a plan for you. The storms will rock you, test you, and then strengthen you. Hold tight – help is here!
How do you view the storms of your life right now? Are you trusting Jesus to come into those storms? Can you look to him for your rescue and for the faith training in these times? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Our honest prayer before God is evidence that we understand the ways He loves, cherishes, sees, and hears us. Through prayer, we can acknowledge with Hagar, “You are the living One who sees me” (Genesis 16:14). When we pray, we are affirming the same. Why do we often hide from this privilege? Why do we avoid God, the One who sees us as we are and stands ready to provide and answer us in his holy, timely way? In this 8-week study on the prayers of Job, Ruth, Hannah, and David, grow your prayer life by facing your honest need and bringing your whole self before God. Acknowledging God as the One who guides your path can change your heart. It can take you past fear and into faith, strength, and hope. Learn more about Honest Prayer.
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