Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

Pandemic Perspective – Part 144 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.

Not only do we see Christ’s call to His disciples, His prayer for the disciples, and His care of the disciples but fourth we see that:

4.         He Comes. 

Jesus did not just send, pray and care from a distance. He didn’t just watch He waded in, and scripture says that he waded in on top of the water. Now we need to note here that while Jesus came to the rescue he also waited a while, He came at 3:00 a.m. and the disciples had gotten into the boat that evening probably around 6:00 p.m. There was some time that had transpired, which means that Jesus let them struggle, John tells us that they had rowed three or four miles against the storm. But do you notice when Jesus came, in their darkest hour. No matter how hard it gets we need to not lose hope. Now here is the sad reality, when Jesus did show up His disciples freaked out and fell apart. They respond to His coming with worry instead of worship. Because instead of seeing Him as the Savior they saw Him as a spirit. They assume He was a ghost, but here is my question, had they seen a ghost before, no but they have seen Jesus the miracle maker. So why go to what doesn’t make sense, because that’s what fear does it causes you to focus on the foolish instead of faith. It causes you to freak out and act all crazy instead of focusing on Christ and being courageous. One of the problems with the church today is that it’s full of foolish crazy Christians who are constantly freaking out, why because they are walking by fear instead of faith. So, let me ask you is Christ still in charge in the midst of the chaos? Are you going to let your circumstances or Christ control your heart? While the disciples had never see a man walking on the water, they had witnessed His first miracle of changing water into wine. Anyone that had the ability to command water to change into wine probably had the power to control water so they could walk on it. Not only that but they had just witnessed Jesus miraculously feeding 5000 with a few fish only hours before. That’s just like us, Jesus does this miracle in our lives and a few hours later we are freaking out and we are back to walking by fear. Look fear will always limit the Lord in your life. They should have known it was Jesus but they were so filled with fear that they lost focus. When we think through the “do’s and don’ts” of the Bible, I’m guessing one or more of the following come to mind: Do not lie, Do not steal, Do not murder, Do unto others as you’d have them do to you, Love your neighbor as yourself. And while all of these are certainly Biblical and applicable today surprisingly, none of them are repeated with all that much frequency. Do you know what the most frequently repeated command in Scripture is? Fear not, Do not be afraid. God knows that fear is the number one reason we avoid doing what He asks us to do. Fear is the biggest obstacle to obedience. Now here are a few of my favorite “fear not’s”:

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me” (John 14:1).

“I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you” (Genesis 26:24).

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

“But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine'” (Isaiah 43:1).

“Don’t be afraid; just believe” (Mark 5:36).

“So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31).

In light of these and many other “fear not’s,” why are so many Christians afraid of so many things? Some of us fear economic ruin, climate upheavals, or political change. We’re afraid to share our faith, to give God’s money back to Him for ministry, to publicly testify about God’s grace in our lives. We fear rejection, persecution, illness, loneliness, silence and solitude, death, and countless other things. Why? One big reason for our overwhelming fear is simple unbelief. We don’t take God at his word when he says, “I am with you, I’ll take care of you, you are mine.” I also think that part of the problem is that we have so bought into the “things go better with Jesus” philosophy that we don’t know how to reconcile suffering with God’s faithfulness. But we have a God who is not just good all the time He is fully faithful. Look we are the ones who are fickle and fail and yet our Father is still faithful. You see even when we suffer, even in the midst of the storm God is faithful. So don’t cast aside your confidence in God just because your circumstances are crummy, because even when the birds stop singing and the sky goes from a beautiful blue to a bleak black God still has your back. Are you going through a storm right now, don’t focus on your fears focus on Christ’s faithfulness. Either you will give priority to your problems or to His presence. 

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