Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that His disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while He sent the people home. After sending them home, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. Night fell while He was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. (Matthew 14:22-24 NLT)
Last night I made a decision to call off our kick-off of "New Family" - an evening designed for our whole family, dedicated to building up our new family in Christ. It's our way of living out what the early church immediately became when they believed in Jesus. They became a new family.
All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord's Supper), and to prayer. (Acts 2:42 NLT)
Anyway, we had a big kick-off planned for Tuesday and the weather was spotty enough that I called it off. I'm sure many people thought I was crazy - a guy from further south who doesn't know how to handle a little taste of winter. I was distracted by snow, slush, and ice mixes on the streets, a slipery parking lot, and a car that ran off the road on 30. More than all that, I couldn't predict the future and the weather forecasts varied greatly. So, I played it safe and we will try again next week.
I'm sure my struggles in decision making last night didn't even approach the feelings the disciples must have felt in that boat. They're out in the middle of the water, in the middle of the night, when a big storm hits. There would have been no doubt. The would have called the boat ride off.
About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw Him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, "It's a ghost!" But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," He said. "Take courage. I am here! " (Matthew 14:25-27 NLT)
The wind, the waves, and the hour of night would have been enough to convince them of their final outcome. They were going to die. Seeing Jesus walk on water toward them would have been something like watching the angel of death approach. It was all over.
Do you ever feel that way? Do the wind, waves, and dark of the night create moments when you feel like it's all over? Even when God starts walking toward you in the midst of the storm, do you see Him? Or are you afraid that things are about to go from bad to worse?
Then Peter called to Him, "Lord, if it's really You, tell me to come to You, walking on the water." "Yes, come," Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. "Save me, Lord!" he shouted. (Matthew 14:28-30 NLT)
God wants to show us His power. He wants to help us through the storm. Sometimes we even cry out to Him for help, but we miss the whole point. We think it's about stopping the storm. Sometimes we even think it's about walking on water - miraculous signs. God thinks differently. It's about coming to Him. He wants us to trust Him, hang out with Him, and learn from Him. God isn't looking for us to cry out in fear. He's looking for us to turn to Him, talk to Him about what you see, and watch the storm together safely seated by His side. Peter almost understood this - then he took his eyes off Jesus.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. "You have so little faith," Jesus said. "Why did you doubt Me?" When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped Him. "You really are the Son of God!" they exclaimed. (Matthew 14:31-33 NLT)
He can walk on water and control the weather. That's crazy. I'm glad we're family.