A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT
by Don Anderson
It was a dark and stormy night according to John. He was with the other disciples out on the sea of Galilee. Jesus had just finished feeding 5,000 people and had told His disciples to take a ship to the other side and He would meet them in Bethsaida. “Then the sea arose because a great wind was blowing. So when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were afraid. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid” (John 6:18–20).
Why were the disciples afraid? Many of them were fishermen and had been out on the sea all their lives. What had they to fear?
They were afraid because they were in life-threatening circumstances for which they thought there was no way out. And though they had rowed as hard as they could toward shore, they could not overcome the storm’s power. Imagine being in a small boat tossed around by a great storm in the pitch dark and being powerless to do anything about it? We would all be frightened in a situation such as this!
Then along came Jesus walking on the water. This furthered their anxiety because they thought that He was a spirit and they, “cried out for fear” (Matthew 14:26).
Oftentimes we find ourselves caught in one of the many storms that life directs our way. We become fearful in the situation we are in, wondering if there is any way out? We may also do what the disciples did; take things into our own hands and try to “row” against what is overwhelming us.
The passage goes on to say: “Then they willingly received him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went” (John 6:21).
To recap: Jesus gives His disciples the task of getting into a ship to go over to the other side of the sea. On their way, a storm overwhelms them and they become frightened and powerless to accomplish the assigned task. Jesus shows up, calms their fears and the storm, and assists them in completing their task.
What was it that solved the problem that the disciples were in? Jesus!
Jesus got into their boat and as He did so, he told them not to be afraid. Jesus was now with them and they could cease all of their futile efforts. Their task now was to trust Him by giving their burden to Him.
The key to getting through the storms of life is to make sure that Jesus is in the boat with us!
Though life can be painfully difficult and excruciating at times, without Jesus our lives are futile and directionless, followed by an eternity of misery. Jesus knows how to calm the storms of life and our fears if we only allow Him into our boat. This is why Paul says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Jesus comforted his disciples shortly before his crucifixion by saying, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27). “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Though we will still have tribulation in this life, as Jesus says, we can still have the peace of God that passes all understanding as we navigate the storms of life. But only if we have Jesus in the boat with us!
Is Jesus in your boat?!