Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished. Mark 6:45-51 NASB
Several things we can learn from this account. First, notice it was Jesus’ idea for the disciples to get into the boat. How could that be? Would He really send them into a stormy situation? Absolutely! Our nature is to avoid stormy situations at all costs, that is our goal. No one wants to suffer hardship! But God has better goals for us. He desires for us to grow closer to Him, and to mature in our faith, and that often involves struggling through tough circumstances.
The narrative tells us that Jesus saw the disciples straining as they battled the wind. You can be sure that Jesus sees when you are “straining”, battling in the midst of a difficult situation. He is well aware of our struggles, they never go unnoticed by our God! He knows when you are weary from the struggle; He see’s your pain. And just like He went out to help them, He will come and help you.
In Jesus day, the Romans divided the night into four 3 hour periods. The first was called evening and was 6pm-9pm. The fourth watch was 3am-6am. Jesus saw the disciples struggling in the evening but waited until early in the morning to come to the rescue. It’s safe to say that struggling through the night did not harm the disciples one bit. I’ve no doubt they learned a valuable lesson that night about the power and faithfulness of God. Sometimes God allows us to suffer hardship to help us get to know Him better. If you are going through a tough time and are weary, seek God and remember, His timing is always perfect!
When the time was right and Jesus came to the rescue, He walked on the water! When it seems like there is no answer, and all hope is gone, remember that God has ALL power. There is NO LIMIT to what He can do on our behalf. He can deliver you out of any circumstance! Just when you think all is lost, you will hear Him say, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” And as He speaks those words of assurance He will get into the boat with you, the wind will stop and you will be amazed by His power! For when He is in the boat, all is well!