Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves.
About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him.
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!”
Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.
(Mark 6:47-56 NLT)
The disciples were in a storm struggling against the wind and waves. Everything in their evidence-based experience told them this was bad. Very bad.
Jesus saw their struggle.
If this pandemic experience had happened earlier in my life I would probably have felt overwhelmed with anxiety. It’s a sign of how much the Lord has healed my heart that even though I am in the high risk for complications category in several ways should I come into contact with the virus, I have more peace now than I’ve ever had before.
Like the disciples in the boat, my experience tells me this is bad. But unlike the disciples at that time, my heart has been softened by seeing Jesus do the unexpected. Sometimes the scary ‘what-ifs’ break through, but most of the time I can trust that no matter what, God still loves me and still loves and cares for the people I love.
I had no grid for God’s intervention back in the years of anxiety and depression. I struggled against the wind, but all I saw was the waves. Like Jesus’ friends, I interpreted anything supernatural as something even scarier than the storm.
Jesus didn’t shame them for what they felt. He responded to their cries. “I’m here!”
He had compassion and showed them what it was like to be at peace. He demonstrated authority over not only chaos in the physical atmosphere, but in the spiritual atmosphere as well. He put himself in the same position they were in and the wind stopped.
During a time of turbulent emotions stirred up by fear and illness, I painted a prayer of wanting to see Jesus in the emotional storm that raged around my heart. I had almost forgotten about it until I read this story in Mark today.
In a dream this week, I waited and waited in a church hoping for an encounter with God. When I could no longer stay because the last person turned off the lights and indicated he wanted to lock up, I went out into the dark rainy night. To my surprise, Jesus was waiting in the parking lot for me. When he touched my hand all fear was gone.
He wasn’t in the decently-and-in-order building with its platform and neat rows of seats. He was outside in the storm.
Perhaps that is where he is waiting for you.