What is God Doing?
We often ask that when we are facing hardship. Often times our questioning develops into: Does God hear me? Why doesn’t He do something about “ABC”? Is He really with me?
How many times do we fail to recognize that He is with us through our storms?
The disciples failed to see Him.
In Mark 6:45-53, we read the account of Jesus walking on the water, but there was a lot more to that Scripture portion than just Jesus walking miraculously on the water.
New Living Translation (NLT)
Jesus Walks on Water
45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.
47 Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. 48 He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morningJesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. 50 They were all terrified when they saw him.
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” 51 Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, 52 for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
53 After they had crossed the lake, they landed at Gennesaret. They brought the boat to shore 54 and climbed out. The people recognized Jesus at once, 55 and they ran throughout the whole area, carrying sick people on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 Wherever he went—in villages, cities, or the countryside—they brought the sick out to the marketplaces. They begged him to let the sick touch at least the fringe of his robe, and all who touched him were healed.
Previously in Mark 6, in verses 37-44, the account of the feeding of the 5,000 with the five loaves, and two fish was given. To build on the setting, verse 33 says that many people recognized Jesus and His disciples in the boat, and those people ran along the shore to get ahead of the disciples and Jesus. Now that’s excitement to hear the word of God; an excitement to see and hear from Jesus. They had a faith-filled expectation that they would hear something amazing from Him that would change their lives. Imagine for a moment, a modern day gathering of people excited to listen and see their favorite band. It was a very similar atmosphere here; Jesus was near. However, Jesus had wanted to be alone with His disciples to receive much needed rest because so many people had been coming to Him and His disciples to hear the word of God. In verse 31, we see that they had not even had a chance to eat because they had been so busy ministering to people. Jesus and His disciples were exhausted; they needed rest and fuel to carry on. But, alas, as Jesus always does, He saw a need and met it, even to the point of ignoring His own needs.
In verse 45, Jesus insists that His disciples leave and go back across the lake to Bethsaida while He got the crowd to go back to their homes. I imagine that took some convincing to get the 5,000 men and their families to leave. After getting the people to leave, Jesus went away to be alone to pray.
In the early hours of the morning, Jesus noticed that the disciples were in serious trouble out on the lake. A storm had come up; pounding the boat they were in. They struggled to row against the bashing of the waves and the force of the wind (v. 48). We don’t know how long they struggled, but at three in the morning Jesus left his location on shore and walked on the water toward them. His intent wasn’t to stop and help, but to walk on by (v. 48). Did you notice that Jesus wasn’t worried about their situation? When the disciples saw Him they failed to recognize Jesus; they were terrified. His own disciples who had served with Him for a while now, did not even recognize their Rabbi, but were instead filled with fear (v. 50).
How many times do we fail to recognize Jesus’ presence in our own lives when we are in the midst of storm? We worry and fret about it. We focus on the storm and what we see instead of on Jesus. He, who should be our complete and utter focus; we fail to see Him walk on by. Exhaling a big sigh, right? Me, too!
Jesus simply said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage! I am here!” He got into the boat and the storm died. How often do we fail to focus on Jesus? How often do we live in fear? How often are we not courageous? How often do we fail to see that He, the One that holds all things together, is here? Yahweh is here.
When we fail to see Jesus, we say instead that our faith is in our circumstances, not in Christ. There it is again, that sigh. I’m right there with you.
Oh, Jesus, how I want to see You and not my circumstances. Help me to have that unwavering faith that is focused and concentrated only in You. You promised not to forsake us, nor leave us (Deut 31:8, Heb.13:5). Help me to live that kind of faith out loud. Amen.
In fact, our faith should be:
And One focused, i.e. on Jesus.
Jesus is the only Calm for our storms. He is the only focus. In Him, our faith should be entrenched. Firmly rooted.
And what a contrast to the disciples we see, not just in verse 33, but then also in verse 54. This is after the disciples experience on the fierce open sea: “…the people recognized Jesus at once…” Oh, if we can only recognize Jesus at once. As followers of Jesus, we should live in expectation of seeing Jesus, of recognizing Him through our storms. His is with us…always!
Storms are going to come. They aren’t meant to destroy, but to produce something in us that only comes by His grace. First, we need to recognize that Jesus is there, and then let Him do the rest, that only He can do best.
I leave you with these final words from Paul David Tripp: “It’s grace! It’s grace! It’s grace! God will take you where you haven’t chosen to go in order to produce in you what you could not achieve on your own. That’s glorious grace.”