Our Bible verse for today: “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” John 6:20 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Jesus will get you through the storm.”
I’ve always loved the scene in John 6:16-20: Jesus and His disciples had been conducting a series of ministry events around the Sea of Galilee. On this day, Jesus performed His famous miracle that we have come to know as “the feeding of the five thousand.” There were 5000 men, plus the women and children (perhaps 10,000 – 15,000 people in all). After a long day of teaching the crowd was hungry but there was no food except five small loaves of bread and two small fish. You know the story: Jesus multiplied what food there was and miraculously fed everyone, with plenty of leftovers.
Mark tells the same story in his Gospel, and combining both accounts we find that after the miraculous feeding, in the evening, Jesus makes His disciples get in a boat to cross the sea, headed to the city of Capernaum. But He doesn’t go with them. Instead, as they’re headed out to sea Jesus goes up on a high mountain to pray. As the night unfolds we find the disciples encountering a huge storm in the middle of the sea. It was so bad that those experienced fishermen were in danger of sinking.
Interestingly, according to Mark’s rendering of the event, we find that Jesus, up on the mountain praying, could see the entire scene out on the lake as it was developing. However, for several hours He just stood there and watched His disciples struggle in the storm. But then, when the time was right, He went to them in the middle of the storm. He walked on water, met His followers in the middle of the storm, entered into the storm with them, and then He calmed the storm for them.
From this we learn three important lessons about how Jesus helps us during the storms that we encounter in life. First, Jesus prepares us for the storms of life. Please note that Jesus had spent 2 ½ years training and preparing these men before He sent them out into that storm. He does that with us too. He prepares us for the things He knows are coming.
Second, Jesus comes to us in the middle of the storms of life. He usually doesn’t prevent the storms from coming – storms are just part of life. But He will come to us in the middle of those storms. Sometimes He will let us struggle through it on our own for a little while, because the struggle is part of our training. Figuring things out and pushing through them makes us strong. Therefore Jesus isn’t going to make things too easy for us. But at the right time and in the right way He will make His presence known to us.
Third, Jesus calms the storms of life. When the time is right He will bring the storm to an end.
I love the words Jesus spoke to His followers as they struggled in the middle of their storm, “It is I. Don’t be afraid.” He was there with them and therefore they did not need to fear. The same is true for you and me. He is aware and He is there, so don’t be afraid.