After the five thousand had eaten and were satisfied, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and precede him to the other side toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And when he had taken leave of them, he went off to the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was far out on the sea and he was alone on shore. Then he saw that they were tossed about while rowing, for the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night, he came toward 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. They had all seen him and were terrified. But at once he spoke with them, “Take courage, it is I, do not be afraid!” He got into the boat with them and the wind died down. They were completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. On the contrary, their hearts were hardened. (Mark 6:45-52)
We have all been there. When times are good and our lives seem blessed, we are thankful to God for all that we have.
But when times are not so good, when we are experiencing sadness, or fear, or personal trial, we begin to ask where God is in our lives.
Especially during these times when there us so much anger around us. When politicians use us as pawns, when they create sound bites of anger, of doubt, of misinformation. Then they repeat them over and over until some take them as gospel. We ask where is God in all of this?
We forget that He is with during the trying times as much as He is during the days of contentment.
Today’s scripture is right there to re-orient our fears, questions and perhaps even disbelief.
The disciples did not recognize Jesus and were terrified at seeing what they thought was a ghost. Though Jesus meant to pass them by, he responded to their terror. He stopped and reassured them, “It is I,” and exhorted them to have courage and fear not before joining them in the boat.
As we go through our daily lives, we may encounter things that frighten us, and it may be difficult to see God present in the challenges that we face. We may not know how to respond to what we are experiencing. Again, where do we turn? Do we cry out to God and listen to his reassurance? Jesus responded to the disciples’ fear. We need to do as they did—cry out so that we may also hear Jesus tell us to “take courage” and “fear not.” These are precious moments when we can grow in our trust and hope in the Lord. We can turn the darkness around us to light!
Jesus has created us not to drown in fears and anxieties, not to be inundated by the toxic pool of our sinfulness, but to live by faith, to immerse ourselves in the depths of his mercy, to adore him on land and on sea, to be strengthened by him and know that we’ve got nothing to fear because he is with us, even if we’re in the midst of ferocious storms.
For this to occur, however, we must trust in him. We must believe in him.
The apostle John reminds us s us of the love that God has for us and inspires us to love God in return. “God is love,” he says, “and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him. In this is love brought to perfection among us, so that we may have confidence on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world.”
He goes on to say, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” John wants us to be brought to perfection, to completion, in the love of God, which will help us to be courageous because it will drive out fear. When we know God loves us and has triumphed even over death, we’re unafraid of anything, including dying.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your saving help and your ever watchful presence, especially in times of adversity. Fortify my faith with courage and my hope with steady perseverance that I may never waver in placing all my trust in you who are my all.”
Does the Lord Jesus seem distant when trials and difficulties come your way? The Lord never leaves us alone, but keeps constant watch over us at all times, especially when we are tempted and feel weak or helpless. Do you look to the Lord Jesus to give you his strength and help when you are in need? Jesus assures us that we do not have to give into fear or discouragement if we put our trust in Him and remember his great love for us. He will see us through any trial that comes our way. When calamities and trials threaten to overwhelm you, do you respond with faith and hope in God’s love and presence with you?