Troubled Waters

“Jesus made the disciples get in the boat and go . . to the other side.” Matthew 14:22 NIV.

In the midst of troubled waters, you will find God’s presence and protection there.

My thoughts and comments today are about “troubled waters.”

When things aren’t going well, it is easy to panic, afraid you must have done something wrong. And when all is comfortable, you might incorrectly assume it is because of God’s pleasure. Life is not really that simple. Smooth sailing does not mean you are in the will of God; nor do troubled waters mean you are out of the will of God. In the will of God, you may experience either at various times. Trouble is sometimes unrelated to present cause and effect.

James, the brother of Jesus, gave wise counsel when experiencing troubled waters: “When all kinds of trials and temptations crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! . . you will find you have become men of mature character . .” James 1:2-5 J.B.Philips. Whatever the origin of your storm, you will find God’s presence and protection in its midst. God never promised a life without pain and difficulty.

Matthew relates the most interesting story following the miraculous feeding of the thousands on Galilee’s shore. It begins simply enough, “Jesus made the disciples get in the boat and go . . to the other side.” Matthew 14:22 NIV. The problem arose midway across the lake. One of the frequent storms roared down on their small boat until these seasoned fishermen were seriously afraid. Jesus had sent them ahead of Him while He remained ashore and prayed. They were just obeying Jesus’ direct words. As human as are we, they must have assumed nothing could or should happen to them when they were “just following orders.” But storms are no respecter of persons – good or bad. I wish that were not so, but it seems to be.

Obedience doesn’t guarantee calm seas. During the darkest hour, probably at the height of their fear, “At three o’clock in the morning, Jesus came to them, walking on the water.” Read Matthew 14:22-34 NLT. Jesus came to them! He always will. And He came with authority over the very thing that threatened them. During the storm, they needed to remember Jesus words on the shore, they were to get in the boat and “go on ahead of Him to the other side.” The other side is your destination. In troubled waters, look for the Savior, not at the storm.

God’s will is found in obeying and trusting His words. Jesus’ intention was not a disastrous journey. His will for them was on the other side; the waters were to take them where He sent them, not to drown along the way. Let me accent my words again, “In the midst of troubled waters, you will find God’s presence and protection there.”

Fearful times neither mean you have done something wrong nor that you are in the wrong place. It just means you are not yet safely where God is bringing you. On the other side, good things are waiting. Read Matthew 14:32-36 NIV. With Jesus alongside, the seas are calmed; a new and greater revelation of Jesus’ person and power is revealed; you are brought where amazing things happen in others’ lives and your own.

My prayer for you today is that you will look for God in even the darkest times.