They were in trouble, they were ‘straining at rowing’, in a very familiar story in the Bible when the disciples were following Jesus and were led into a boat where, by nightfall, the wind was against them.
So much for our idea about ‘follow Jesus and you can sing songs like, “Everything’s going my way!” Those ideas are like an old Irish proverb that many of us have hanging somewhere in the house:
“May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, May the sun shine warm upon your face; The rains fall soft upon your fields and, Until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”
This old Irish proverb is filled with a lot of ‘warm and fuzzies’ but there is really only one portion of it that remains true, ‘May God hold you in the palm of His hand.’
Following Jesus is not to be confused with a life filled with all ‘warm and fuzzies’! Yes, we will have ‘moments’ like this old Irish proverb, but many of us know that many, many a day the road does not rise to meet us, especially those that have been led to walk through the wilderness for some time. And many know the harsh winds that threaten to destroy, especially fighting disease when there is not one ounce of strength, not one. And it happens when the sun is hidden behind clouds so dark and thick that it is hard to remember the warmth of the Son…
This is a time when we forget what’s true. But , we can KNOW that God is watching and He knows all that is going on, that He actually has us in the ‘palm of His hand’. But we can’t know just by thinking of an old Bible story we heard back when. NO. We can only know when we open His word and actually read the story, and God shows us things we didn’t even know were there:
“Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. (Mark 6:45).
Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.“Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them.” Mark 6:48.
He sees us ‘straining at rowing’ while we are on the boat that He had us get into!
“And about the fourth watch of the night “…(all I know is that this seems real late – the fourth watch! God is reminding us, that He is NOT in a hurry, even though He knows we are!)
He came to them, walking on the sea,” Everyone knows that He came to them walking on the sea, this is totally familiar, but not what comes next:
“and would have passed by …Mark 6:48.
I think over and over again on these words, ‘and would have passed by’,
He would have passed by? Oh my, that is crazy to me, but I think this is very important for us to see. How could a God of love simply ‘pass by’ while we are ‘straining at rowing’ in the storm He allowed for us?
But He is so clear in His word, He is there, and He would have passed by, but WHY didn’t He?
“…and would have passed them by But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out…” Mark 6:49.
!They didn’t know it was Jesus, but they knew it was time to ‘cry out!’.
Do you think that before they got on this boat they might have been a little puffed up being part of God’s huge miracle where they fed the 5,000 and even took up 12 baskets full of leftovers? We don’t know, but we DO know that Jesus waited to meet them ‘about the fourth watch of the night’. And they were tired. So when they cried out, there was no more self-sufficiency in them, there was no pride, there was simply TOTAL DEPENDANCE on their Savior at that moment! I wish I could have seen this moment,
“For they all saw Him and were troubled.” Mark 6:50. I am sure they were!
But just by knowing about the story, we can miss these next words that speak so powerfully,
“And immediately He talked with them and said to them,…”Mark 6:50. He was about to pass them by, but they cried out and NOW He is talking with them, immediately.
And immediately Jesus talked with them. We can’t know that unless we open the Bible and turn to Mark chapter 6 and on a day when you can’t even see which way is up, and we are simply a miserable mess- but just call out His name – Jesus-
And He talks. And His words are just for me, today, right now,
“Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.”Mark 6:50.
How many times do we simply pass our Bible by?
“…and (He) would have passed them by. But when they saw Him walking on the sea”,
We don’t think He’s watching, but He is. He’s waiting for us to respond to His presence. He is love, remember? He so much wants us to respond to His love. He so much wants us to know that are sufficiency is …
“Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled.” Mark 6:51.
‘Be still my soul, thy Best and Heavenly Friend, through thorny ways, leads to a joyful end.’ And I think that the joyful end is knowing that yes, God’s got me in His hand. We don’t know that by having some Irish proverb hanging somewhere in our house, we KNOW it by calling out to Him and hearing Him talk to us in His word!