In Mark 6, there is an account of a time when Jesus sent His disciples to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, while He went up onto a mountain to pray. During the night, while the disciples tried to make their way across this relatively small lake, the winds kicked up and the waves started tossing their boat around, and they were in distress. The Bible says that they were “straining at the oars” (6:48, NASB) and “making headway painfully” (ESV) because the winds kept them from making progress. They must have been afraid—it was dark, they were alone and losing strength. They were overwhelmed by circumstances beyond their control; fearful of drowning! But—Jesus could see them. Did they know? Though He was far away, His eye was on them, because He cared about them. He knew they were afraid and having difficulty. He wasn’t indifferent to what they were enduring. Later, He went to them, walking on the water and calming the winds, telling them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
I can relate to that fear, as I know many of you can. For the most part, my life has been blessedly uneventful until recently, but over the last year and a half, the winds have kicked up and the waves are tossing our boat. I’ve felt fear, the nights can be long and dark, and I can’t see what might be in front of us. I confess that there have been times—briefly—when I’ve forgotten that God still sees us. I have had to remind myself that His eye is on John and me…He knows my fears and He is not at all indifferent to what is happening! When I remember and focus on that truth, it calms and comforts me, even while we are still clinging to the tossing boat.
And it occurred to me, too: the disciples were afraid of drowning in the water, but the very water that they feared was the avenue that Jesus used to reach them. I am afraid of what has happened with John’s heart. I am afraid of what may happen in the future. But, already, I can see how my fears and the promised, resulting peace that God has given me are the avenues by which my faith and trust have grown, and through which my Lord has drawn closer to me. He still says, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”