Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


Pandemic Perspective – Part 150 Courage in the Chaos – Part 9

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.

After Jesus rescues, rebukes and restores Peter he then returns Peter to the boat which results in two important details that are often overlooked in the retelling of this water walking experience. The first is that:

  1. The storm dies down. 

Verse 32 tells us that as soon as Jesus climbs into the boat the wind stopped. Jesus begins to restore peace to their lives. Peace is not found in the absence of problems but in the presence of Christ. So often we pray for Jesus to just remove our problems instead of praying to experience His power. Jesus banished their fear with His very presence. When Jesus climbs into our boat everything changes, it’s no longer about our circumstances but all about Christ. So stop letting the storm rock your boat and start letting the Savior rock your boat. This leads to the second incredible detail: 

  • The disciples bow down. 

Think about all that the disciples experienced during this encounter with Jesus. They watched him feed over 5,000 people. They saw Jesus walk on water. They saw His glory when He passed by them. They heard Him boldly declare His oneness with God Almighty when He said, “I am who I am.” They saw Peter do something that was totally impossible. They watched as Jesus saved Peter. And they saw that the wind and the waves died down as soon as Jesus got in the boat. They responded the only way they knew how in verse 33: “Then those in the boat worshiped Him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.”

The result is one of rejoicing, as their worry is replaced with worship. You can’t focus on the faithfulness of Christ and your fear at the same time. Either you will focus on His faithfulness and get caught up in the worship or you will focus on fear and wallow in the worry. Impression must always precede expression. We don’t worship just to express ourselves. We worship as a result of being impressed with the awesomeness of God. Your expression of God will be the result of His impression on you. Some of you are not very impressed by God therefore you are not very expressive of God. The disciples bowed down in worship, which brings us full circle. We’re right back where we started, this is what Jesus wanted to happen all along. He didn’t want them caught up in the praise of people he wanted them caught up in praising God. The reality is that the way we live is a consequence of the size of our God, tragically, many of us have a small view of God. Yet here we see Jesus using the problems they faced to bring them back to praise. Sometimes what seem like our greatest problems are actually platforms for praise. This storm just provided an opportunity for their faith to flourish. So don’t get angry at the Almighty over the storms, because if you let them they will strip you of self and show you the Savior. Problems provide and opportunity to walk by faith, look trials just reveal where you are really placing your trust. Whether you are holding onto the boat or what you say you believe. Instead of focusing on the obstacles Jesus calls us to focus on obedience. We waste a lot of energy of the winds and the waves instead of investing it in worship. It’s time to stop focusing on the weather and start focusing on the Creator who is in control of the weather. Stop making it about your storm and start making it about the Savior. As we conclude this devotional on courage, what steps is Jesus calling you to take:  

1. Call out. Ask God to let you know what it is that He wants you to do. 

2. Get out. What fears are holding you back from a life of faith? Where is God calling you to get out of the boat? Ask yourself this question: What am I doing right now that I could not do without the power of God?

3. Cry out – Who or what are you really clinging onto. 

4. Bow down. We need to remember that Christ’s church was birthed when believers were gathered together in worship. It was led by people full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and they received the power that God had promised. Never forget that the walls of Jericho came down as a result of worship. Where in your life do you need to bow down and submit to the supremacy of the Savior? Where do you need to stop letting worry rob your worship. Faithfulness comes from following Jesus, fear comes when we following our feelings. Are you going to base and build your courage on Christ or cower to your circumstances?