And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. - Mark 6:47-51 ESV
Often we find it easy to ask, “Where is God?” when trial or difficulty disrupt our lives. When these storms arise, sometimes the first thing we do is point out how we aren’t seeing God or experiencing Him in the midst of our struggles. As the Psalmist clearly expresses in many of his Psalms, there are some situations where God may not feel present. Let’s take a closer look at Mark 6 for perspective.
FACING THE STORMS
We see in verse 47, the disciples whom Jesus sent to cross to the other side of the sea were already out facing the waves during the evening hours. The top half of verse 48 continues this understanding as we see that Jesus saw them struggling against the wind. So, we must understand that this scene took place in the evening hours. The end of verse 48 shows us something pretty interesting. Jesus waited until “about the fourth watch of the night” before He came to them. When we understand the context of this passage and its language, we understand the “fourth watch” to be the early morning hours of sometime between 3:00am and 6:00am. So, Jesus waited. He actually waited before He came to them. We can gather, here, that even when we feel like God isn’t in the midst of our pain or hurt or confusion, we are still in His sight, just as the disciples were before He ultimately came to them. Let this be a strong implication for our trust and faith, in the middle of our hurt.
Finally, after waiting until the “fourth watch of the night,” Jesus ultimately came to them. Jesus got into their boat. I was able, recently, to hang out one Sunday morning with the people of Autumn Lake Church in Louisville, Ky. Their pastor, a great friend and role model in my life, David Kennedy says,
“JESUS WANTS TO GET INTO YOUR BOAT.”
Jesus wants to still the wind, the waves, and the rain in our lives. But we first have to let him into our lives. We have to let him into our boat. And this is where it gets real.
Once He’s in our boat, we have to let him know what’s inside: the contents of the cargo, whatever could be hidden under the planks, who in the world is steering the thing, and if we trust Him to take it from there.
Once He’s in our boat, we can bring everything on the boat to him. We can bring any hurt, pain, confusion, and struggle before Him. This is where the healing begins. This is where the waves end and the peace sets in.
GIVING IT ALL TO GOD
Prayer is one of the most powerful ways we do this. One of the beautiful things about God is that He wants us to bring it all before Him. We don’t have to feel like we need to censor or play it safe with anything. Nothing is off-limits with God. So no matter how messy it may get, pour it all out before Him. Pastor Rob Bell states, “Prayer is when you get rid of your edit button.”
Pour it all out. Bring it all before Him. He desires to get into our boat and shine light on what is hidden there, in all of its dark corners. He desires to listen, and hear the hearts of all of His children.
Let us trust that we are in His sight, even when we don’t feel Him. The joy, peace, and goodness of our God is greater than any temporary and fleeting pain this world could ever bring. Let His grace and peace lead us through it all.