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 about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 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
Picture this scene with me. After a long day of ministering and feeding 5000 people, Jesus goes up to a mountainside to pray. While He is there, His disciples decide to go ahead of Him to Capernaum.
They take the only boat on the shore and start rowing. By now it is getting late and it is dark. They get to the middle of the lake and a strong wind starts blowing and the waves get rough.
I don’t know if you have ever rowed a boat before, but it isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially in the dark with strong winds and rough water! Even though they were experienced fishermen, the storm and waters were so rough that they struggled to get across to the other side.
At just the right time, Jesus shows up, walking casually across the rough water, no less. I don’t blame the disciples for being frightened as He approached. It’s not every day you see a person just taking an unhurried stroll on a stormy sea!
Jesus calls out to them, calming their fears by reminding them who He is. His voice calling out above the waves and the wind must have been the most welcome sound the disciples had ever heard. In that moment, they recognized Him and they were willing to take Him into the boat. As soon as He stepped into the boat, they instantly arrived at the shore.
Did you catch that? They were in the middle of a lake, in a storm, waves crashing everywhere. They are rowing and rowing and not getting anywhere. Then Jesus shows up. Once they decided to invite Him into the boat, they miraculously were transported to the shore, to the exact place they were headed!
Jesus didn’t calm the storm first and walk to the disciples on peaceful waters. He stepped right over the waves, because He himself was Peace. In His presence, they found a life-line that no circumstances could ever break. When we feel stuck in a rough situation that’s hard to see through, we need Jesus to show up. There is nothing, not the darkness of night, or the strongest of storms that can keep Jesus from coming to you.
That rough water–He controls it. The wind obeys His commands. He is in control of all creation and has got you firmly in His grasp. He will not let you go under. He will keep you from sinking and lead you to safety.
Jesus is present in your situation, even if you don’t always recognize Him there. When you take your eyes off the storm long enough to look toward Him, you will always find Him nearby, waiting to help. Listen for His voice above the wind and the waves. Will you let Him into the boat to be your peace and your life-line?
Too often when I find myself in the middle of difficult circumstances, I work so hard to fix it by my own strength that I end up weary and distraught. In those situations, I’m like the disciples, rowing and rowing and not getting anywhere (except worn out!). How long do we needlessly struggle when simply allowing God into the boat will help us experience His strength and peace while we get to where we are supposed to be.
When we are reminded of who God is and allow Him into our situation, we get to experience the peace of knowing we are safe in His love and protection. In His care, He is able to get us to the other side of our situation. He himself is our peace, we need not be afraid. He is always near and ready to step into any storm.