As I have studied Matthew 14 over this past week, one point resonated with me above all others. Sometimes, God puts us in the boat and sends us into the storm.
22 Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. 23 And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24 but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them.
This event takes place right after the feeding of the 5,000. It has been a long day for Jesus and the disciples. According to several different gospels, it appears that the disciples have just returned from their travels around the area, ministering to the people, healing the sick, and sharing the message that the kingdom of God is near.
I am sure the disciples were probably tired and ready to get to the other side of the sea and rest. And instead they find themselves facing a storm that leaves them helpless- no rowing that they do makes any progress toward shore.
The hope that jumped off the page to me was this: God placed us in this storm. I believe that with all my heart. We prayed for a week about my husband’s job situation. He was supposed to get a promotion on the day he lost his job. We got a clear answer from the Lord. He closed that door, and I am so thankful that he did.
The amount of money my husband was making, the security of the position (good company, good benefits) would have made it hard for him to leave, even if he was restless and uncertain if this was where the Lord wanted him.
But neither of us imagined that we would find ourselves here, eleven months later, with no income and living only on the provision that the Lord graciously provides through his church.
We arrived at this place step by obedient step; yet there are so many times when I have doubted simply because things just keep getting “worse.”
By “worse” I mean things that I never imagined would happen if we were walking in obedience to God like being broke (literally having NO money!), and having to ask others for help (My hubby and I have prided ourselves on self-sufficiency and not needing help from others financially).
I was wrong- my assumptions about how God would provide for us were wrong.
The Lord has not provided a job yet. He has closed doors that we thought were the answer we were waiting for.
And with each passing month, we struggled with worry and doubt. But instead of trying to “fix it” ourselves, we sought the Lord. We prayed, we sought him in his Word, and He reassured us in our obedience. He brought peace that helped us hold on for one more day.
There has been strong temptation to just go out and get a job. ANY job. I know there are people who know our situation and don’t understand why my husband hasn’t worked anywhere he could.
How do we explain that we have never felt the freedom to do so?
God has led us down a different path?
Would we have had the courage to make the choices we did if we had known that now he would still be without work?
I don’t know. All I know is, as we have walked through this with the Lord, we have done our best to be obedient. My hubby has pursued jobs fervently, we have prayed that God would lead him to the right job in his timing.
If I was not confident in the lavish love of our Savior and God, I would never have lasted this long. I believe that those who trust in Him will not be ashamed. He promised, and praise be to God, He keeps his promises!
We are being refined. And just like Peter, we have stepped out of the boat.
We have left behind any other security or safety net- and our hope is only in God.
He is the only one who keeps us walking forward, step by step.
We have our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
All that is happening in our lives, it is the work of God. We can claim no credit; for we are doing very little- yet what we are doing is the most vital thing- our hope and trust is in God.
We are looking to him and him alone for deliverance.
We know that He began this storm, and our God, with a word, can calm the storm.
His provision is coming.
His timing is perfect.
And he gently keeps calling me, as the storm rages and my eyes are tempted to watch the swell of a passing wave, or look back to the safety of the boat…
Keep your eyes on me.
I’ve got you.