Storms in the Eye of Obedience ~ blog
John chapter 6 is a pretty amazing chapter in the Bible. A couple of miracles happened as well as Jesus teaching and saying some things that turned a lot of His followers off.
In the first miracle, Jesus feeds the 5,000 men. He was sitting with His disciples when this large crowd found Him, and it was getting close to dinner time. Out of a boy’s lunchbox of two fish and 5 crackers, Jesus pulls out enough food to fill their empty stomachs and had 12 baskets of leftovers.
Then Jesus goes off by himself and in the evening, while His disciples are rowing across the Sea of Galilee. The water was rough, and a strong wind was blowing so after rowing for 3-4 miles there is probably some fairly salty conversations taking place.
They were doing exactly what Jesus told them to do. They left early in the evening and now it is somewhere between 3:00 – 6:00 am. So, it has been 6-9 hours of rowing, they are exhausted, the storm is still raging, and I can imagine tempers were very short and fuses burned down to the point of igniting. So, they were right in the middle of His will and I like to call this moment storms in the eye of obedience.
Jesus is now walking on the water in their direction. Mark tells us that Jesus was intending to pass by them. Somebody sees Jesus but in the stormy conditions, they all think that He is a ghost and they are freaking out even more. So, Jesus spoke to them and said.
“Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Peter, the man with a big mouth but little faith challenges this idea that it was Jesus walking on the water and passing them by. So, he says for Jesus to command him to join him walking on the water. Peter has been a fisherman most of his life and one thing he had never seen was a person able to just walk on water. I don’t know if he is thinking how cool it would be to do that or if he is just being a smartass at the moment.
Jesus says; “Come!” and Peter gets out of the boat and I can just imagine what it must have felt like for his first foot to touch the top of the water and not sink in or go under. Then he takes his other foot out and is standing on the water. I imagine a smile formed on his face because in his world things like this just did not happen.
Now he is walking toward Jesus but since Peter is ADHD, he stops looking at Jesus and notices the wind. All of a sudden, his faith disappears because he is focusing on his circumstances. He is out of the boat. He starts believing what he is seeing when faith is believing in things unseen. Real life circumstances and thoughts rush in and Peter begins to sink into the sea. So, in fear he cries out;
“Lord, save me!”
Suddenly Jesus is right there with him, keeping him from sinking and helping him back into the boat. 11 sets of eyes are wide open with fear and wonder, utterly astonished at what they had just seen. The disciple John records in his version that immediately after Jesus and Peter got into the boat they were at the other shore.
Sometimes we are right in the middle of doing what Jesus has told us to do. We assume that because we are where He wants us to be doing what He wants us to do that everything will be easy and good. And yet, those can be the times when Jesus will really test our faith.
James says it this way;
“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
Those of us battling with our sexual brokenness and the constant potential exposure to images or thoughts that trigger us to wanting to act out … find ourselves being tempted almost every day. The temptations do not come from God but from our world and our sinful desires. You can be right in the middle of God’s will for you at the time and suddenly find yourself in the middle of a storm or a testing of your faith.
It is in that storm that we need to be looking for Jesus. He is always nearby and in fact, His Spirit is right there inside of us. It is to Him we need to look and keep our focus on. It is from Him that we can receive a strengthening of our faith. And it is through trials that we begin to develop endurance which will change us making us more perfect and complete lacking in nothing.
This kind of spiritual growth does not happen in easy and carefree days. It is forged in the trials of life and walking through them with Jesus by our side and filled with the Spirit.