It has been a year of epic challenges. We have watched our nation become paralyzed with the COVID -19 pandemic, and when it appeared that peril was about to abate, another outbreak gripped us. Amidst that crisis, an unarmed African American named George Floyd was tragically murdered by a Minneapolis police officer and the shockwaves of racial injustice and claims of police brutality prompted rioting and looting in the streets of cities around our nation.
What are we to take away from this national civil and physical unrest? In Matthew 14, Jesus sends His disciples out and they too were gripped by a storm that caused them great fear. We learn in this brief narrative some timeless principles.
I. God’s plan may surprise you (22-24)
Since Jesus instructed the disciples to go to the other side of the sea, they undoubtedly were doing the will of God, yet that did not prohibit them from facing a life-threatening storm. Even if we are right where we need to be spiritually, we also deal with countless storms in our lives, however; we often learn our greatest lessons during these times of trial and adversity. Charles Spurgeon said, “Our troubles have always brought us blessings and they always will. They are the dark chariots of God’s bright grace”.
II. God’s presence will surround you (25-26)
As the disciples battled the wind, the waves, and the darkness of night, Jesus showed up — walking to them on the water. They think it’s an apparition at first and in their fear and anxiety, Jesus says, “Be of good cheer; it is I, do not be afraid.” Jesus has a habit of showing up at just the right time. His presence, as it surrounds us, brings peace and resolve.
III. God’s purpose is to stretch you (27-31)
Peter, the capricious, impulsive disciple speaks up, “Lord, if it’s You. Command me to come to You on the water” and Jesus responded, “Come.” A one-word invitation He used often (Matt. 4:19, 11:28, 25:34).
Peter walked on the water! God’s purpose for our lives always requires faith (Heb. 11:6). Our calling is to live by faith, walk by faith, and pray in faith.
Fear destroyed Peter’s faith when he moved his gaze off of Jesus to glance at the storm that overpowered him, and he immediately went under.
IV. God’s protection will shelter you (32-33)
Peter learned that sinking time was praying time, and he called out to Jesus, “Lord, save me!” (the shortest prayer in all the Bible). Immediately Jesus stretched out His saving hand to Peter, yet rebuked him, saying, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” (James 1:6). They then got into the boat, the wind ceased, and they collectively worshipped Jesus, declaring, “Truly You are the Son of God!”
In our days of stress, strife and struggle we need not fear, for Jesus is ever near (Ps. 46:1).
Published July 7, 2020