“A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. But he said to them, ‘It is I; don’t be afraid.’ Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” (John 6:18-21)
There’s a popular saying that states: “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” This is a call for people to depend on their own strength and to just “push through” their circumstances and “hang in there.” But fortunately God gives us a better way!
The Bible reminds us that life on earth won’t be easy. We will experience weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, and difficulties (2 Cor. 12:10). Furthermore, 2 Tim. 3:12 directly states that “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus WILL be persecuted.” [emphasis mine]. For a Christian, there is no way to avoid these struggles.
The disciples’ boat was being rocked by the strong wind and rough waters, and they were already over 3 miles deep into this troubling scenario in the middle of the night. Jesus shows up not simply as a man, but as God defying nature with His miraculous power. The disciples are terrified, thinking they are seeing a ghost (Mark 6:49).
When life hits us with difficulties and tragedy, do we recognize God’s face and His presence in our situation? Or does fear of the unknown, the bleakness of our trial, and the darkness around us cause us to focus so much on the circumstance that we miss Him entirely?
The disciples trust Jesus at His word saying that it is He, and they willingly take Him into the boat. As soon as they do, the waters become peaceful (Mark 6:51) and the Bible says they immediately reach the shore where they were heading.
We have a decision point where we can either run from God in the midst of our trials, or we can let Him in and allow Him to help us. We can either blame God for the hardship and try to push through it on our own strength, or we can rely on His miraculous power to bring us peace and get us to where He wants to take us.
Brothers and sisters, when we are deep into our troubles with darkness seemingly all around, Jesus implores you to fix your eyes on Him. By simply stating that He is who He is, He reminds us that we need not be afraid; He is ever-present and will not leave you nor forsake you.
“Take courage! It is I, don’t be afraid.” (Mark 6:50)
[From January 6, 2019]