by Brittney Chan
Sometimes, trusting God can feel impossible - almost like walking on water. I’m serious. You can be in the middle of His will and, all of a sudden, find yourself in what feels like an uncontrollable storm. At least, that’s how it happened for the twelve men in Matthew 14.
This chapter unfolds telling the story of miracle after miracle. Jesus had spent the entire day teaching and healing a large number of people. They began to get hungry and so, Jesus fed all five thousand of them! There was even enough leftovers that the disciples could fill twelve baskets full. Maybe the miracle here was that Jesus fed so many people. Maybe the miracle was that Jesus showed the men who’d ministered all day long, that He would make sure to take care of them, too.
Just a few hours later, the disciples followed Jesus’ instructions to row across the lake of Galilee. He said that He’d meet them on the other side. So they grabbed their packs and provisions and climbed aboard the boat, like each one of them had probably done a thousand times before. See, nothing was out of the ordinary here. We know that at least a third of those men were fishermen by trade. They had probably paddled around that lake hundreds of times! They knew that water like the back of their hands and weren’t in any rush to get over to the other side.
Can you imagine the conversations that night? Each man commenting on what stood out to him that day. Maybe they passed around a few fragments of the leftover bread, still feasting on the miracle, and never even considered the storm ahead of them. The night went on and the men probably took turns between napping and rowing. The lake was 8 miles wide and they had all night to get across it.
But somewhere between mile 3 and 4, they ran into some trouble. How quickly things can change! The winds picked up. Their vessel began rocking violently. And those same fishermen knew - better than anyone else - that they needed help. I wonder, as their minds filled with fear and anxiety, if they thought of the other people - maybe ones they had grown up with - who had been lost at sea because of storms just like this one. You know how we tend to jump to the worst case scenario when we don’t feel safe. What if the same thing was to become of them? I’m talking about a life-or-death kind of fear.
The men start gasping, whispering to one another. Do you see that? The phrasing in this passage suggests that they thought they were hallucinating or either seeing a ghost. But Jesus came closer and spoke two short phrases: “Be of good cheer. It is I.” And I want to point out something right here.
The disciples had been out of His presence for just a few hours when they encountered a storm. Almost as soon as they faced opposition, they lost the joy of the day and let fear take over. There was no parallel in their thought process that the Man of miracles they’d spent the day with, could possibly be effective in the storm of that night. He simply wasn’t there.
But we know how the story goes. Jesus comes right to where they are by way of the water (another miracle, btw). These men thought they were seeing things; so it’s not too much of a stretch to say Peter was challenging what he saw. “If you’re really Jesus, call me out there!” And Jesus simply said, “Come.”
What was going through his mind as Peter lifted a foot out of the boat and put it onto the water’s surface? What am I doing?! Peter, you know you’re leaving the only place of safety you have right now. This doesn’t make sense.
And sometimes, that’s exactly how it feels when God asks you to trust Him. I have an app on my phone that sends notifications throughout the day to remind me to pray about certain things. Every time “My Future” pops up, it feels like God is asking me to walk on water. I’m glad that God gives us the wisdom to make decisions for ourselves, but I constantly have to be reminded to trust that God knows best.
But why do we do that? We can spend all day long praying and watching God move in the lives of other people. We can have enough faith to pray through to breakthroughs in their lives. We witness the healings and restorations, but when it comes to our own lives, we just can’t see it. Some of us have been bold enough to trust God, but as soon as we get reminded of the uncertainty around us, we sink right back into that hole of unbelief.
You can’t forget that the storm you’re facing right now is in the middle of miracles. It’s really just a couple of lines in a chapter packed full of God’s goodness. Look at your yesterday! He has been faithful to heal. He has delivered before. He has made a way out of no way. He has turned around impossible situations. He has called you and equipped you for the work ahead of you. There is nothing stopping God from moving in your needs right now! Don’t let the uncertainty surrounding you cause you to forget the faithful and saving hand of Jesus. His intention is to show up in the middle of every storm we face. He will be faithful!
And if you can’t find it within yourself to believe for changes in your marriage, healing for your heart, deliverance for your mind…I want you to know that I’m believing for you. I am praying specifically for you to be encouraged in the Lord. God has a prosperous future for you. Know that He is not against you. The truth is, walking on the water with Jesus is much safer than staying in the boat without Him.