When Christ comes to us in the midst of our turmoil, He offers one key truth: the truth that He is present.
And the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It’s a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." Matthew 14:24–27, NIV
As Jesus approached the storm-tossed boat, the disciples saw Him, but didn’t recognize Him. In fact, at first, His presence added to their terror. They thought they were seeing a ghost.
Reading their first reaction made me think of the fear-inducing situations I’ve faced. How often has Christ been present in my storm, but I haven’t recognized Him? Was He wearing the face of a person I don’t like all that much? Did He come from a direction I didn’t expect? Perhaps I was so weary from rowing against the wind, I expected nothing but more bad news.
When Christ speaks, He seems to ignore the immediate problem, saying, “Take courage! It is I.”
If I were the disciples, I think I would have liked to hear, “It’s okay, I’ll tell the storm to stop now,” or “I’ll get in and help you row from here.” Perhaps I’d even appreciate a six-step plan for getting safely to shore.
Instead Jesus offers one key thing: the truth that He is present.
I want God to respond to my trials with explanations for their existence, clear step-by-step plans for solving them, and even a few promises about the value of enduring them. Yet here Jesus gives the disciples the answer He often gives me: “I’m here.”
Sufficient. The answer I need. The answer powerful enough to propel me from the boat and onto the water, as peter discovered as the scene continued.
Jesus doesn’t provide a weather report, a new sailing technique or an empty pep talk. He gives me first what matters most: Himself.
FAITH STEP: Think of the worst storm buffeting you today, and hear Jesus tell you, “Take courage! It is I.”
Written by Sharon Hinck