Yesterday, we talked about Jesus’ example of seeking solitude in the midst of a difficult time. Interestingly, according to the account in Matthew 14, the hours He spent alone came at a cost of great anxiety for His disciples. Since He had sent them out on the boat ahead of Him, they were forced to endure a great storm alone. As the wind started churning and the waves started breaking, they were completely terrified. By the early morning, after hours spent in fear of losing their lives, they were exhausted and frustrated. They knew that Jesus was up on the mountain praying, but they wondered if He had forgotten about them. Where was He in their storm?
Suddenly, Jesus appeared to them, walking on the water toward the boat. Already in a state of panic, they feared that He was a ghost. Relief flooded their minds when they realized that it was Him and He told them, “Take courage. It is I. Don’t be afraid.” But is it possible that their relief turned to upset when they questioned in their hearts where He had been in their time of need? Did they wonder why He had left them out there for so long? Even today, we might ask, why does He leave us when we’re going through trials, setbacks and challenges? Why does He let us keep paddling towards the shore, caught up in our fear? I believe the answer to that question is training.
Jesus knew that those men on the boat were going to have to face a lot more than water in their lives. Perhaps they needed to see that no matter how rough and terrifying things got, He would ultimately come to them, just as He comes to us. Like the disciples, we can rest assured that struggle, stress, and challenge will make us stronger, tougher, smarter and less afraid, because Christ is with us, even when we don’t see Him. Right at our breaking point, He will come walking on the deepest water to save us. We can see victory after victory in His Name when we turn our eyes to Him. Isn’t that awesome news?