In Matthew 14, immediately after the miracle of the feeding of the 5,000 men as well as, in all probability, numerous women and children as well, Jesus commands His disciples to take the boat and head for the other side of the Sea of Galilee.(v. 22) Jesus Himself, does not join them this time. Instead, He goes up into the hills to pray.(v. 23)
The Bible tells us that while the disciples were doing exactly what Jesus had told them to do, a fierce storm arose. Geographically, the Sea of Galilee is susceptible to these fierce and sudden storms that arise without warning. I can relate to this because I live in a part of the world where it is not unusual for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes to suddenly erupt. Thanks to modern technology nowadays the detection of the conditions that may spawn these storms has improved but even so, it is not fool-proof.
I can identify with the fear the disciples must have felt. Several of them were fisherman who had earned their living from the sea. They were undoubtedly well acquainted with these storms and knew the danger they were facing. I wonder if it crossed their minds that the only reason they were fighting for their lives at the moment was because they doing exactly what Jesus had told them to do?
Has that thought ever crossed your mind? You were simply trying to obey God. You were doing exactly what He had told you to do and suddenly you discover that instead of sailing through peaceful waters under a star-spangled sky, you find yourself clinging to your little boat, praying that it will hold together and you will not be cast into the sea and pulled down to a watery grave! It wasn't supposed to turn out like this but it did.
I cannot tell you why your obedience led you to this place. I can only say that God is Lord over the storm... any storm. I can only say, "Hold fast to your faith and trust God no matter what!"
Jesus was aware of what the disciples were facing. Nothing, I repeat, nothing ever catches God by surprise. He is never caught off guard and if we must encounter a storm, for reasons only known to Him, God does not abandon us... even when we cannot see Him, hear Him, or feel His presence. Jesus was not physically with the disciples when the storm erupted. In fact, it appears that some time had passed before He goes to them. What we do know is that they set off before night fall (v. 23-24) and that Jesus did not come to them until about 3 o'clock in the morning. (v. 25) They were far from land so it is estimated they were probably about four miles out as that would have been about the halfway point between where they launched and their final destination. It should have taken, at the most, only several hours to make the crossing so it appears they had been in trouble for some time. When you are in trouble, time suddenly has no meaning. A moment can seem like an eternity.
One of the things I find interesting about this account is that Jesus neither prevents the storm nor does He immediately calm the it. He simply moves to where the disciples are and tells them it is okay, He is with them. His Word tells us the same thing. He is with us and He will never forsake us. Are we going to trust our senses or are we going to trust the Word of God?
It is easy to get disoriented in a storm and truthfully that puts us in a position where our senses simply cannot be trusted. In English we say, "I can't think straight" and it is true. The intensity of our emotions jumbles up our thinking and will sometimes cause us to do the very things we shouldn't. We have to stop... be still... and cling to our anchor, Jesus Christ trusting that He is out there in the storm with us and God has us... no matter what!
In the Garden of Eden, the question that really confronted Adam and Eve was whether or not they trusted God. We face that same question every day. Do we really trust God?
God determines the weather we need to draw closer to Him. I agree and believe God wants us to stop depending on our senses and to depend on His Word.
Our senses can deceive us.. To me it's fascinating that an airline pilot can fly upside down and not know it. That's why pilots have to be instrument rated to fly through fog. As believers God wants us to be able to stand on his Word/be instrument rated for Life's storms.
I'm pasting a little about this phenomenon called spatial disorientation.
Spatial disorientation, spatial unawareness is the inability of a person to correctly determine his/her body position in space. This phenomenon refers especially to aircraft pilots and underwater divers, but also can be induced in normal conditions chemically or physically (e.g. by blindfolding). In aviation, the term means the inability to correctly interpret aircraft attitude, altitude or airspeed, in relation to the Earth or point of reference, especially after a reference point (e.g., the horizon) has been lost. Spatial disorientation is a condition in which an aircraft pilot's perception of direction does not agree with reality. While it can be brought on by disturbances or disease within the vestibular system, it is more typically a temporary condition resulting from flight into poor weather conditions with low or no visibility. Under these conditions the pilot may be deprived of an external visual horizon, which is critical to maintaining a correct sense of up and down while flying.
A pilot who enters such conditions will quickly lose spatial orientation if there has been no training in flying with reference to instruments. Approximately 80% of the private pilots in the United States do not have an instrument rating, and therefore are prohibited from flying in conditions where instrument skills are required. Not all pilots abide by this rule and approximately 40% of the NTSB fatal general aviation accidents from pilots who don't heed this directive.
"I cannot tell you why your obedience led you to this place. I can only say that God is Lord over the storm... any storm. I can only say, "Hold fast to your faith and trust God no matter what!"
This is true K! And your blog is a GOOD reminder of this truth. Thank you!