“I’ll meet you over there.”
That’s what Jesus said as he directed the disciples into a boat and pushed them out to sea.
After just witnessing a miracle (the feeding of the 5000), I imagine the disciples with a full belly—on a spiritual high—ready for whatever life (or Jesus?) threw at them.
But then they’re at sea. Rowing. And rowing. And rowing. And getting nowhere. The wind was against them. The waves were likely tossing the boat to and fro.
As someone who grew up next to the ocean, there’s very few things more frustrating than to be on the ocean and have no control over your boat. To be rowing and making no head way. What is the answer to the dilemma? Throw out an anchor until the wind settles? Give up and let the wind take you against your course?
And this is where we find the disciples.
Were they questioning?
Where is Jesus?
Did He really leave us on our own out here?
Wasn’t HE the one who sent us?
Why don’t we just give up and go back?
I mean, how many hours did they strain at the oars?
But by the time Jesus actually shows up, no doubt they were seriously frustrated and no longer on a spiritual high.
In fact, it seems their mind was so far removed from the miracle that Jesus had performed just hours before, that when Jesus came to them WALKING ON WATER, they didn’t even recognize Him.
Jesus had been praying on a mountain, saw them struggling, and yet He didn’t just speak to the wind and waves and say “peace be still.” He could have. But no. He takes the time to walk out to them. And throughout all of that… still storming.
I’m sure we can all relate to this in some respect.
Truthfully, in this past season, that’s sort of how I’ve felt. Pushed out to sea, trying to go the direction that Jesus last told me, but feeling like I’m rowing against the wind. At times, it’s frustrating. At times, you want to just give up and let things play out as they will.
But, then there’s this Scripture, Mark 6:45-52, that gives a little perspective. And there’s 2 things that I want to share that has encouraged and confronted my heart.
First, it shows me the heart of God so beautifully. What was Jesus praying for while He was on that mountain? I don’t know. But I love to imagine that He was praying for those disciples. Scripture says that He lives to always make intercession for us. Could Jesus have been praying for peace to surround them? For revelation of who He was? For love to abound? For protection? For them to keep the primary thing, the primary thing?
I don’t know. But what I do know, is that in the middle of feeling like I’m fighting against everything. In the middle of misunderstanding. In the middle of hurt. In the middle of the unknowns. When it seems I’m rowing and rowing and rowing, but getting nowhere…. He’s praying for me. For me. That’s an amazing reality to lean into. He’s got my back.
Secondly, I love how it reminds me to keep my focus on Him. Jesus could’ve just spoken to the wind and waves and told it to stop. But He didn’t. Instead, He walked out to where the disciples were straining and spoke to them. In the middle of it all. When the wind was howling and the waves were crashing. Even when they didn’t recognize Him and were afraid. He said “do not be afraid. It is I.” Then when He got in the boat, the wind stopped. He asserted Himself as the One who is in control.
And I laugh because, how frustrating would it have been that the group of fishermen couldn’t row across to the other side? They’re the experienced, professional ones. If anyone should’ve been able to cross the lake… it should’ve been them.
This… this I have to grab a hold of. Because I will continue to row and row and row, in my own strength, and fight against the storm, until He speaks, until He shows up (but I can trust He will!), until I fix my gaze–I can’t do any of this without Him.
The thing is, knowing that He’s got my back is what helps me regain focus when I lose it.
A fixed gaze is what keeps me steady even when I feel like I’m relentlessly rowing.