When my heart is troubled I must believe that my God is able to do the impossible.
Does life ever seem out of control?
Do you ever read the news, then get really depressed because it seems like evil is winning?
Do you ever look at the world and see chaos all around?
I don’t know about you, but when my thoughts turn dark, unwelcomed fears burrow their way into my heart and try to set up camp. Sometimes I find myself fearful of the future or frustrated when it seems like (from my limited perspective) that the “bad guys” are winning.
These thoughts can quickly turn to despair. Over the years I’ve learned that my perception of the world around me is directly connected to my belief system about who God is and what He is able to do. That’s why theologian A.W. Tozer said, “What we believe about God is the most important thing about us.”
If we consistently see the world through the lens of fear, dread or despair, somewhere there is a lie lodged in our minds that says, “God is not good, God is not bigger than my problem or God is not in control.”
Since we all struggle at times with fears, doubts and insecurities, this question proves powerful: “Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?”
On the surface this seems to pose the question, “Did you know your son would perform a really cool miracle?” But when we dive deeper into the history and the context of the miracle, we discover this is a far more profound question; one that may be rephrased: “Mary, did you know that your Son would have Dominion, Power and Authority over all things?” Getting to the heart of this miracle speaks peace to our fears and hope to our hearts.
To people in Biblical times, the ocean symbolized the uncontrollable and chaotic world. The unpredictable nature of the waves and the great unknown of the deep spoke grave fear to the hearts of people. Disorder, confusion and terror entwined with enormous superstition that evil lurked below the waves. Simply put… water = fear. From this vantage point of history, let’s ponder this question: “Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?”
Turning to the Bible, we find the eyewitness account of this miracle:
Then Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people away. After sending the people away, he went up a hill by himself to pray. When evening came, Jesus was there alone; and by this time the boat was far out in the lake, tossed about by the waves, because the wind was blowing against it. Between three and six o'clock in the morning Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water. When they saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. “It's a ghost!” they said, and screamed with fear.
Jesus spoke to them at once. “Courage!” he said. “It is I. Don't be afraid!”
(Matthew 14:22-27, Good News Translation).
Jesus’ mastery over the sea is a miracle of multiple proportions. First, the sheer fact that he, a man, walked upon water, is pretty stinking cool. We could stop there and stand amazed. We see Christ’s glory and that He’s not constrained by the natural forces of this world. Jesus displayed His majesty by doing the impossible and in doing so, confronted His disciple’s desperate fears and ours too.
I don’t know about you, but when my heart is troubled I must believe that my God is able to do the impossible.
Second of all, the meaning behind this miracle is even more telling. To “walk upon” water reveals His dominion, power and authority. Recalling that the water symbolized chaos and evil to people, Jesus declares that He rules and reigns over all. The forces of darkness are not greater than our God.
With each masterful step upon the unruly waves, Jesus foreshadowed His ultimate mission: to defeat Satan, to redeem humanity from the curse of sin and purge evil from the world.
I don’t know about you, but this miracle fills me with hope.
- Hope that this world is not spinning out of control.
- Hope that evil has not won.
- Hope that my God can do the impossible.
- Hope that my God is greater than all forces of darkness that come against us.
- Hope that the story isn’t over.
- Hope that there is One who is greater!
As I write these words I need to recall to mind the greatness of my God. I have a friend battling what the doctors have named terminal cancer. I have another friend facing such severe injustice it makes me want to pound my fist through the wall and yet another whose heart is shredded over a devastating loss. The waves, the winds, the unknown depths…these things are currents of real life. Yet, in the darkest hour, Jesus walks upon the waters of our soul and says, “It is I, do not be afraid.”
Friends, in every storm and every ocean deep, Jesus gives us hope for this life and for the one to come. Jesus, Victorious, Water-walking Jesus. Treading triumphantly over an ocean of fears...this is our God!
As I ponder the magnitude of this miracle, I can’t help but to stop and think of Mary.
- I wonder… did someone race back to Nazareth to tell her what her son Jesus did?
- I wonder…did someone stop her and ask her, “Did you know that your baby boy just walked on water?
- I wonder… did she stop and smile and simply shake her head in amazement at the great mystery and the majesty of the God/man?
Questions to Ponder
- What situation in your life seems “out of control?”
- How does Jesus’ authority and power give you hope in your current situation?
- How do you think Mary reacted when she heard of this miracle?
- What did God speak to your heart today?