Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

3. Courage in the Chaos – Part 3

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Matthew 14:22-33

22 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. 23 After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. 24 Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. 25 About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!” 27 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!” 28 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” 29 “Yes, come,” Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. 31 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.

As we continue to look at how Christ comes to our rescue in our times of deepest despair, we need to look at how He handles our hardships. I mean have you ever wondered why Jesus was walking on the water at 3:00 a.m? Why didn’t He just calm the storm like He did the time before? Why didn’t he just show up in the boat with them? Why the water-walking gig? I think there is a radical reason and we need to pay close attention because it is the most important point in the passage. Jesus is far more interested in displaying His deity than He is in making life comfortable for His followers. He wants to grow our faith, not our feelings. Because the goal is giving glory to God, it’s about His holiness, not our happiness. Today the way many Christians are living their lives would lead you to believe that they don’t really want Jesus they want a genie who will meet their every wish and wipe away all their problems. We have made it all about a problem-free life instead of a praise-filled life. But Jesus knew that His disciples would not fully understand Him until they were faced with some stormy waters. The same is true for us. You see you will never really know Christ until He is all you are clinging onto. The beautiful blessings of storms are that they strip us of self-strength, oh you might be able to row for a while but it’s only when you come to the end of yourself that you will come to the beginning of God. Some of you don’t know because you are still struggling to row, and you don’t see Jesus on the water because He is waiting, waiting for you to grow weary of trying to save yourself. Waiting for you to grow weary of trying so that you will want to start trusting. We see Him as He really is when we’re faced with fear and wiped out by the waves of pain and problems. But, we have to look for Him in order to see Him. And Jesus reveals who He is in three very powerful ways:

  • By walking on the water.

Moses, Joshua, Elijah and Elisha were all involved in water miracles, but no human had ever walked on water before. When Jesus went for a stroll on the stormy sea, He was showing that He was more than a mere man, He was God. There is only one person who can control and command creation and that is the Creator. Job 9:8 reminds us that only God can take a stroll on the sea: “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea.” The One who made the water now calls that water as His witness, to show His position and speak His power. What about us are we like the water, witnessing about His wonders and proclaiming His power in the problems or are we more like the disciples trading our witness for whining?

  • By showing Himself.

In Mark 6:48 we read, “He was about to pass by them.” This phrase “to pass by” is used in the Greek translation of the Old Testament to refer to a theophany, which are those defining moments when God shows up and reveals His glory in a vivid and profound way to a select group of people. He did it with Moses in Exodus 33:19: “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name in your presence.” Jesus gave them a glimpse of His glory. The problem is that many of us are allowing the problems to eclipse God’s glory. We are so focused on the groaning that we can’t see the glory. Just like the Israelite army in 1 Samuel 17 who let Goliath eclipse the glory of God. In verse 10 when Goliath said, “I defy the armies of Israel today! Send me a man who will fight me!” Verse 11 tells us that, “When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken.” What voice are you listening to today, the voice of God or the voice of garbage? The voice you listen to will either cause you to live as a victim or a victor. Stop focusing on the giants and start focusing on the greatness of God? Last but not lease:

  • By revealing His name.

This is striking and should have created a sense of awe and wonder among the disciples. While the waves are battering their little boat and they’re huddled in fear, Matthew 14:27 tells us that Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, Take courage. I am here!” “I AM” alludes back to God’s self-revelation in Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked God who shall I say is sending me and God replied: “I AM WHO I AM.” Jesus knows that fear can fillet our faith and so He tells us to be courageous by reminding us who He is. He is the great I AM. Our courage is not based on our competency but on God’s character. That is why He can call us to courage in the midst of the chaos. Courage is cultivated by God’s character it’s not tied to your circumstances. So take your eyes of the challenges and start putting them back on the cross. Because the cross reminds your current circumstances they are not the final voice. The cross calls us to stop whining and start worshipping because we win. So what about you are you focused on your fears or focused on God’s faithfulness?

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