Mark 6:47-48 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night (about 3 AM) he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, . . .
Why would Jesus mean to pass by his disciples? Wouldn’t He want them to see Him so they would know He hadn’t abandoned them in their time of need? Perhaps because He knew what their reaction would be – they would be afraid instead of trusting in Him. That is exactly how they reacted.
” . . but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified.” (vs 49)
It wasn’t “Thank you, Lord, for hearing our cries and coming to our rescue.” The disciples were already in an anxious state trying to battle the sea and the waves that were defeating them. It was three in the morning. They were worn out, tired, probably cranky. In other words, they were not in the mindset to receive peace.
Have you ever been in a stew like that? I have. It seems like a magnetic tornado of bad is swirling around me. Everything else that could go wrong seems attracted to me and sucked into the situation. The stress grows and grows. It is “Really? What could possibly happen next?” In my struggle, I am relying on my own strengths, and not God’s. Frustration sets in.
Perhaps it is those times that God chooses to come to my rescue even if I don’t ask Him to do that. He goes ahead while my head is bent to the pressures and calms the situation. He knows I just can’t ask Him to help me with whatever storm I am facing because of my mindset, but He also knows I can’t deal with it on my own (even though I, like the disciples, do not yet realize it). Instead He handles it, then reveals He was right there all along.
But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded. (vs 50-51)
Would I, like the disciples, be afraid and astounded by His mighty power if He revealed it to me? No. not so much now, because He has come to my rescue, over and over again. But early on in my walk with Christ, probably. God knows our hearts and the amount of faith we can muster. He is always finding ways to increase that faith in Him. He meets us where we are. Often, it is only after the storm that I can see the part He played in calming it down, or calming me down. Then, and only then, can I look up and see His mighty Hand was in it after all. That’s when I stop and fall to my knees in relieved thanks and praise. Several years back, there was a Christian song that spoke to that – “Sometimes He calms the storm – other times, He calms His child.”
Trust and letting go of control is a learning curve. Perhaps, someday, I’ll ace that test.