Good day, beloved family.
This morning I began to think of faith. I have been going through the Andrew Murray book on Hebrews, and he is now at Hebrews 11. Many call that the faith chapter, as the writer goes over the people of faith in the Old Testament.
This sent me down my morning rabbit hole, just thinking and thinking about faith.
Then, all of a sudden I got this image of the disciples out on that stormy sea, without Jesus.
22And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
28And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
So, let’s break it down. Let’s talk about faith.
First of all, Who told them to go out in the ship without Him? Yep. Jesus did. Jesus constrained them to get into the ship and go before Him. Constrained them. That basically means He insisted that they do it.
Then, Jesus stayed there and prayed alone while the disciples were in that ship, being tossed with waves, out in the middle of the sea. I imagine Jesus, in the fourth watch of the night, saying to Himself, “okay, it’s time.”
He walks out to them, on the sea, on the churning, tossing waves. It was so stormy and dark that they couldn’t even make out that it was Jesus when they saw Him. They thought it was a ghost and got totally freaked out.
Jesus says, “Guys, it’s Me! Don’t be afraid. Cheer up!” Peter sees Jesus walking on that turbulent water and thinks, I want that too! I want to walk on the water, in the storm. And if Jesus wills it, I believe that I can. He says, “Jesus, if that’s You, call me to come to you!” (I’m pretty sure this was a loud conversation because of the wind and stuff. That’s how I imagine it.) So Jesus says, “Come!” And Peter looks at Jesus and steps over the side of the ship and into the wild sea, and He takes a few steps, feeling the water beneath his feet, and the water might as well be concrete, because it’s holding him up, as He fixes his eyes on Jesus. Then, after a few miraculous steps, Peter glances away to the side. His attention is drawn to the “boisterous” wind, and he begins to sink. Fearful now, he cries out for help. Jesus grabs him. I imagine them out there, Jesus supporting Peter’s weight, and Jesus is all like, “Bro! Why did you doubt?” I don’t think Jesus was angry. He was smiling. Peter had taken those couple of faith filled steps, and Jesus was so happy to see it. Kind of like when a parent sees their kid go those first few yards on a two wheeler, with no training wheels, until the kid gets overwhelmed by the thought that he’s gonna fall over without those training wheels and stops or falls. It’s still exciting!
Here is what I took away from this today. Usually we talk about Peter taking his eyes off Jesus and looking at the waves and wind and sinking. So we know we need to keep our eyes and attention fixed on the Lord. And that is VERY true. But today, I looked at the background. The “set up.” Jesus, knowing exactly what He was doing, insists that they go out on the water without Him. Now back in chapter 8 of Matthew is the story of Jesus being asleep in the boat during the storm and the disciples were freaking out and woke Him up and He calmed the sea. He just basically said, “Calm down” and it did. So we know that Jesus could have calmed the sea before He sent them out there. But He didn’t. And when they were out there, in the fourth watch of the night, being tossed around, Jesus walks out to them. He didn’t calm the sea before He left the shore. He walked out, wind and waves and all, He walked out to them. It was so stormy and chaotic, the disciples didn’t even recognize Him.
Why didn’t Jesus just calm the sea? Why didn’t he tell the wind to chill? He loved the disciples, right?
Rather………. I think……… He insisted that they go out on a “stormy” sea. He walked to them, purposefully, on a “stormy” sea. He wanted them to “see” Him, trust Him, on the “stormy” sea.
I think of the times in my life when it feels like God has sent me out in the storm by myself, and I was so fearful and sometimes angry. I like the word in verse 30 – – “boisterous.” Life around me, at times, has been boisterous. Illness, relationships, loss, pain, sorrow, chaos, stress, you can fill in the blank with whatever your stormy sea has looked like.
What if, in going through these things, we knew that God sent us out into them, purposefully? What if we knew that the storm was important? Essential? Our faith is not built on calm waters. It is looking for Jesus in storms. In suffering. In difficulty. Fixing our gaze on His glorious face, let us step over the side of the boat, onto the churning waters.
I love you all!