DID YOU EVER HAVE ONE OF THOSE DAYS when everything seemed to fall apart? For example, you got up and discovered the alarm didn’t go off and your head was pounding as a result of a bad cold. Then you cut yourself shaving, stumbled over your child’s toy on the way to the kitchen and broke one of your toes!
Did you every have one of those kind of days when nothing seemed to go right?
In our Scripture passage, the disciples were having one of those kind of days. It had been a long, tiring day of ministry and miracles. Tired, they had set out for the other side of the lake. Suddenly, a storm came up and their lives began falling apart.
What do we do when life deals us tough situations and it seems as if we are coming unraveled? I see five assurances to help us when the bottom drops out.
1. THE LORD BROUGHT THEM THERE
Look at verse 22: “Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.”
Jesus knew that the storm was about to strike and He deliberately directed His disciples into it! However, they were safer in the storm within the will of God than on dry ground with the crowd out of His will. But why would Jesus lead them into a storm? The Bible indicates that there are three primary kinds of storms that come to us from our God:
(1) Storms of correction—to awaken, to discipline, to get our attention.
(2) Storms of perfection—to build character in us, to deepen our faith and make us more sensitive to the suffering of others.
(3) Storms of reproduction—to cause others to imitate our response to suffering or to choose our Christ.
There is no oil without squeezing,
No wine without pressing the grapes,
No fragrance without crushing the flowers
And no real joy without sorrow.
So if you’re going through a storm and if the bottom seems to be dropping out, consider that the storm may be in God’s will for you.
2. JESUS PRAYED FOR HIS FOLLOWERS
Verse 23: “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” Sometimes when things are going bad we are tempted to think that God has deserted us. Where is God when we’re rowing against the wind? Why, He’s praying for us. He has never lost touch with our situation. What a comfort that is. What a comfort indeed!
Jesus knows what it is to suffer. The human side of Him experienced more pain than we’ll ever understand. The writer to Hebrews captured the essence of this truth: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet without sin.”
On the basis of Luke 22:31,32 we can safely assume that His prayer consists of at least the following: (1) that our faith won’t fail, (2) that we won’t give up, (3) that we won’t turn back. This is love on its Knees. The thought that Jesus cares enough to give Himself to prayer on our behalf is humbling, say nothing of inspiring. We dare not stop; we cannot quit!
3. THE LORD CAME TO HIS OWN
Verses 24-27 tell us much about the presence of God: “But the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the winds were against it. During the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’”
You have to admire these disciples. They could have turned around and headed back to shore. They had been out there for nine hours. They were tired, wet, and cold—just trying to hang on.
Its midnight and still no Jesus. Suddenly they see Him—walking, instead of riding. At first they don’t recognize Him. Why not? Perhaps they are too busy complaining or fighting the storm in their own strength. Could it be that they are just not looking for Him? This gives rise to a most important truth: THE LORD ALWAYS COMES TO US IN OUR DARKEST HOUR. For example, someone knocks on our door with a meal; an encouraging note or card comes in the mail at just the right time; a friend telephones us saying that he’s praying for us; while in a worship service, something in the message or in a song touches us One sat alone beside the highway begging,
His eyes were blind, the light he could not see;
He clutched his rags and shivered in the shadows,
Then Jesus came and bade his darkness flee
When Jesus comes the tempter’s power is broken;
When Jesus comes the tears are wiped away,
He takes the gloom and fills the life with glory,
For all is changed when Jesus comes to stay.
4. JESUS HELPS US GROW THROUGH TRIALS
In verses 29 and 30 we read, “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” This is a picture of divine love and power meeting human need. Anyone can sit in a boat and watch, but it takes a person of real faith to leave the boat and walk on water.
Here are four principles for water-walkers:
(1) Don’t listen to the people in the boat (nay-sayers)
(2) Don’t look at the waves (circumstances)
(3) Don’t look down at your feet (self)
(4) Keep your eyes on Jesus!
5. JESUS WILL EVENTUALLY BRING PEACE
Verses 31-33: “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. You of little faith, he said. Why did you doubt? And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshipped him, saying, Truly you are the Son of God.”
Notice the progression of events here:
Jesus caught the sinking Peter·
They walked to the boat together·
Jesus climbed into their boat and with Him came the calm they were looking for·
Little wonder that they worshipped Him·
AN ARMY OFFICER WAS SENT on a dangerous mission. He carried two things along with him that gave him courage: (1) the knowledge that he had not undertaken the journey on his own but had been sent by a power for a sound reason, (2) if he got into a tight place, his government would use all its resources to see him through safely. These are the same assurances that God gives to all of us. He has placed us here for a good reason and promises to use all of His resources to help us out of any “tight spots” that may arise.
The next time you have one of those days, or weeks, or months, or years when the bottom seems to be dropping out, just remember to turn to this passage in Matthew 14 and it will hold you steady as you see there again these five amazing truths:
The Lord brought me here·
He is praying for me·
He will come to me·
He will help me to grow through this·
He will see me through·