“Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.’ And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.” Mark 6:45-52
After hearing of the horrendous death of His cousin, after ministering rest to his disciples, after feeding the 5000, Jesus got away to pray. Always engaged, always in tune, always compassionate, Jesus remained intimately connected with His heavenly Father, and His people. Refreshed and enlightened by the divine communion of prayer, He saw His disciples struggling in their boat and went to them, walking on the water. We don’t know why he intended to pass them by, but do know that seeing their distress and fear, He stopped. (Mark 6:27-44)
Jesus is infinite and manages everything in perfect awareness and with perfect precision, everywhere. He is at once soaked in prayer, full of love, and all-wise. There is nothing in our hearts, minds, or lives He is not concerned with or does not see. Even when we are in the fourth watch of the night, in the darkest of dark, hardest of hard, remotest of remote, He is there, walking across our tempests to meet us and cheer us to take heart. Take courage! (Psalm 139:1-3,7-12)
Jesus orders our rest, directs our work, and sends us into storms. He is always near, praying for and watching over His beloved children. He knows when we’re baffled, pained, and terrified, and comes to comfort. ‘It is I, take heart. I am in the boisterous wind and choking waves. I see your angst and fear, and they do not ruffle me. I know the limits to your strength, but I am strong. And you can take heart in Me.’
What has the Lord asked us to do that has grown more difficult in time? Where has He directed us into a storm we are too weak to handle? What impossible do we face right now that appears to have no smooth resolution? Picture the Lord, on a mountain above, watching in love, praying for us, and then coming to get in the rocking boat alongside our anxious bodies. How does His very presence make a difference? What comfort, hope, and help does He bring? Where will we take heart because of His promises today? (John 17:9-17; Romans 8:34-39; Hebrews 7:25
Lord, astound me at Your compassion, loving care, and magnificence. May I in faith behold You in every circumstance and fix my heart in Yours, to the exaltation of Your great name.