That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. (John 6:16-18)
Relate: The disciples went down to the shore to wait for Jesus. Darkness fell. Jesus wasn’t there yet. So what should they do? They have been waiting and waiting but He hasn’t shown up. They hadn’t been given any instructions by Him. They weren’t given a time frame. He had simply slipped away and they were waiting for Him to “slip” back. The last instructions He had given them was to gather the leftovers. Now what? It’s getting dark. Are we going to have to sleep out in the open again?
I’m guessing one of them had a suggestion. “Let’s just head back home. Maybe Jesus already took off for there and is going to be waiting for us. Maybe He’s spending another night up on the mountain. It wouldn’t be the first time. I for one would like to have a roof over and a pillow under my head at least some time before that sun starts rising.” So they got into the boat and headed toward Capernaum. To be fair it probably would have been a miserable night stuck out on a windy, stormy beach without shelter. But to be stuck out on the open water in that same storm? That’s not just miserable. Yes, you still have the same cold and windy and wet. You now just have to fight the waves as well. That’s wearying both in mind and body. In weather as bad as the Sea of Galilee can get even the most experienced sailors will start to get seasick. I doubt the fact that your last meal had been miraculously provided would be of any help when it starts coming back up again. Far worse than just discomfort, these storms can be deadly. Boats that head out on nights like this sometimes don’t ever come back.
React: Thank God for grace. Even though the disciples had left Jesus to find His own way back home, He did not do the same for them. Eventually Jesus did show up on that shore. When He realized that the disciples had already struck out on their own, He didn’t just shrug His shoulders and leave them to their fate. I would have been like, “Impatient, ungrateful louts. Serves them right.” Jesus just stepped out on the waters and continued pursuing them.
Most of the storms of my life are problems of my own making. If I am having relational problems, it’s probably because I haven’t been very loving. If I am having financial trouble it’s probably because I am horrible with a budget. If I’m having spiritual problems that’s probably because I haven’t been willing to wait on the Lord. Or because I have stepped out on my own without and command from Him to do so. I am a disciple of Christ, but that’s much more because He continues to pursue me than any skill on my part in pursuing Him. Over and over again I am in need of His grace because I’m stuck in another storm of my own making. My only hope of Spiritual survival is the love, and the patience, and the mercy and grace of God.
God, have mercy again. I’m impatient. I’m unwilling to wait on You and listen for Your commands. I’ve struck out own my own once again and, well, I struck out. Please forgive me. Please continue to pursue me. I am so desperately in need of You.