Recommended Reading: Matthew 14:1-33
Reality! We all face some hard times, scary times, sad times – those “bumpy roads” that we have to cross over or maybe even have to maneuver down for a somewhat extended period of time.
There are those people (we all know at least one of them, I am sure) that just seem to attract strife, chaos and unhappiness. They whine and complain constantly about their “bad luck”, ride the pity train everywhere they go and act like it is never their fault – always blaming someone else for their issues. It seems that no matter how much they have in their life to be thankful for, they are miserable and spread their misery to anyone that is near them. I truly cannot imagine such an existence. They allow the strife in their life to control them, consequently they live on bumpy roads day in and day out.
Who does not yearn for peace and calm? I am guessing that most everyone does. But, the fact is – we cannot go through this life avoiding all the bumpy roads – because life happens.
John 14:1-12 tells the story about how Jesus was informed about how Herod had imprisoned his cousin, John the Baptist, then had him beheaded. Verse 13a (NLT) says: “As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.” That was a large speed bump that Jesus had to deal with. But He did not even have the opportunity to be alone and grieve, because the crowds found out where He was going and were waiting for Him as He stepped out of the boat. But He did not let that rattle Him.
From there through verse 21 you read the story about how when Jesus saw all the people, He put aside His grief and the need to be alone and compassionately healed the sick. (This same story told in Mark 6:31-44 also says that He “began teaching them many things” -verse 34b NLT.) Then later in the day He miraculously fed 5,000 men plus women and children with nothing more than 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish that a young boy had with him (AND, there were 12 baskets left over that was collected.) So everyone there had so very much for which to be thankful – healings, teaching and a miraculous meal.
Then beginning in verse 22 it tells us that Jesus insisted that His disciples get back in the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while He sent the people home. Verse 23 (NLT) says: “After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.” He finally had time for that treasured peace and calm He had yearned for many hours before.
In the meantime, we are told, the disciples find themselves in a very bad situation – a storm had come up on the lake and because of the heavy waves, I feel sure they were fearing for their very lives. Then suddenly, they look up and see Jesus approaching them – walking on the water. Having never seen any such thing before they were frightened and exclaimed “It’s a ghost!” So the fear and dread they felt because of the storm was multiplied when they were certain they were seeing a ghost.
“But Jesus spoke to them at once. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said. ‘Take courage. I am here!’ Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’ When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.” (Matthew 14:27-32 NLT)
When we are facing those inevitable bumpy roads in our lives – things that frighten us, challenge us, sadden us, etc., we need to remember that we do not need to be afraid or be concerned. We can feel courageous because Jesus is always there beside us. But too many times we, like Peter did, take our eyes off Jesus and his promise to be with us always – then our faith wavers and doubts creep in. That is when the problems of life will try to sink us. We need to learn to reach out our hand for Him and experience the calm and peace He brings. If we could learn to do that, we would experience the safety that only God can give us and I believe we would experience far fewer bumpy roads in our lives.
“The center of God’s will is our only safety.” Corrie ten Boom
Written by Karran Martin – September 10, 2022
[All emphasis is mine]