Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
How many times have you had God direct you or tell you to do something that is totally different from the way you yourself would go? How many times have you thought that it was hopeless and yet God has opened doors which makes the impossible, possible? How many times have you been totally surprised by something happening that you didn’t even consider?
If you are like me, the answer is many. And we shouldn’t be surprised, we should actually expect it, but being human, being limited in our minds and hearts and souls, we don’t see the whole picture, we don’t know all the facts, we don’t comprehend what options are actually available. I can’t wait to get rid of my shortsightedness. I can’t wait to have all the pieces fit together. I can’t wait to have God’s ways truly become my ways.
I spent a few years in the Royal Canadian Navy and I’ve been out in the middle of the ocean when the waves have been 40 feet high (not a good thing) and also when the surface of the ocean has been literally like a sheet of glass, for as far as the eye can see. Both instances are amazing and both are so different. God shows us the variances that are available in nature around us. We know the one’s we like and we know the one’s that we’d like to avoid.
God’s Word opens our minds to the possibilities, opens our hearts to another realm, opens our souls to being filled with His Spirit. We see it all through the Old Testament where blessings and curses are spelled out, where righteousness and wickedness are opposing forces, where faith and shortsightedness are valleys and mountains for God’s people. And, we see God’s justice, patience and resolve to bring to completion that which He has ordained will be.
One of my favourite accounts of what is available (and there are so many to pick from) is where Jesus walks on water.
John tells us: “When evening came, his disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading” (John 6:16–21).
There are several significant points to recognize about this miracle. First, Matthew tells us that “the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake” (Matthew 14:24–25). Though they were only to travel a short distance, the storm was so violent that, despite all their efforts to control their boat, the storm had driven them nearly four miles out into the very midst of the sea. Being the fourth watch of the night (3:00 AM to 6:00 AM), they had been rowing and straining at their oars for approaching nine hours! They were totally exhausted.
Mark tells us that, when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake, they thought He was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw Him and were terrified (Mark 6:48–50). And this brings us to the second significant point of this miracle. Jesus always comes to us in the storms of life. This is reminiscent of the words of God to Isaiah: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you” (Isaiah 43:2). The Lord may not come at the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him the most. Jesus had waited until the boat was as far from land as possible, when all their hope was gone. In essence, Jesus was testing the disciples’ faith, and this meant removing every human prop. Why did Jesus walk on the water? To show His disciples that the very thing they feared, the raging, seething sea, was merely a set of steps for Him to come to them. Often we fear the difficult experiences of life such as illness, loss of loved ones, and financial hardships only to discover that these experiences can bring Jesus closer to us.
Though they had a long way to go in their spiritual understanding, the disciples were growing in their faith in the Lord. This was the first time the disciples are said to have worshiped Jesus.
We all know that life is not all “smooth sailing”, that everyone faces storms at one time or another, that calm seas are not the norm. The Word of God reinforces that reality time and time again. Look at King David, the Apostle Peter and the Apostle Paul. Yet our humanistic minds and hearts and souls are always looking for those smooth seas.
John 16:33 KJV “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
While we are in the world, we will have trials and tribulations, while we are in the world, OUR PEACE IS IN JESUS. Keep all things in perspective – Jesus has overcome the world and this world is NOT our final destination.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!