As I was reading in Matthew’s gospel today, the Lord softly revealed a new understanding to me. Before I continue, allow me to share the account with you.
“When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He *said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:23-27)
There have been many sermons preached from this text with regard to fear, and there is a huge lesson here regarding fear and trust. However, what I saw differently today was what Matthew says in the first sentence: “When He (Jesus) got into the boat, His disciples followed Him.” They followed Him! He certainly didn’t drag them onto the boat or bribe them or coerce them…they followed Him. The seawater is calm and the Lord is doing the leading…what’s to fear, right??
Well, what was changed quickly, and what was becoming became paramount to them all…except for Jesus. He rebuked the wind and the sea and it became perfectly calm. BUT, Jesus did not rebuke them…He just asked them why they were afraid…why were they being faithless? In their following Jesus wherever He leads them there had to be faith. Because fear would come and with fear a certain amount of suffering. If I had been on that boat, I probably would have been puking over the side of it from all of the waves and wind rocking us about. They were fearfully suffering.
You see, when we decide to follow Jesus, He doesn’t promise a smooth sail. Times will come when we are afraid, or sick, or depressed and any other way one suffers while sojourning here. Suffering is quite inevitable, but Jesus is ever-present.
“God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; Though its waters roar and foam, Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.” (Psalms 46:1-3)
The righteous cry and the LORD hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.
When your suffering is long and your fear is overtaking you, cling to Him. He cares for you — Peter said to, “Cast all your cares upon Him for He careth for you.”
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
(1 Peter 5:6-9)