But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: 50 For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. Mark 6:49-50 (KJV)
I personally love being in the water, but walking on the water, now that would be COOL! On this occasion, however, Jesus is coming not clearly visible as on a bright sunny day. He is shrouded in rain, darkness, and is seen only in the flashes of lightning. His friends are in a boat in the middle of a gale, struggling to stay afloat and this vision is only adding to the consternation of these men.
Now, add to this the noise of waves crashing, thunder, sails slapping wildly, and each man yelling out either in fear or in an attempt to give orders to protect life and limb and now Jesus voice BOOMS as He says, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”
Why is it I do not think this was reassuring? First of all, “It is I, WHO?” They could not really see Jesus. Second, His voice was distorted by the wind, rain, thunder, and raucous of the men. Thirdly, they are thinking He is a ghost and not of the Casper the “friendly ghost” variety.
Granted all of this takes place in milliseconds not minutes to hours. Our minds process a great deal of information really fast. Fear can grip and release in a matter of moments.
The point of all this bad weather and Jesus walking to them in the middle of it on the water is a lesson about the storms of our lives. When the storm hits, we are unprepared for all the damage, we grieve the losses experienced and fear the potential additional losses, we struggle to maintain CONTROL. Notice these sailors had not called out in prayer, had not expected rescue, nor had they believed help was on the way. Jesus came without their cries for help. He came because He Loved them and knew they were in trouble. He understood they were afraid. He came to calm the storm. He came to show them how to “walk on water” amidst the storm. He knew His unexpected Presence would momentarily add to their utter panic.
Mothers have a built in radar about their children. Mom’s know when one of their offspring is in trouble. Case in point:
When my oldest was playing baseball, he had ridden his bicycle to the ball field for practice. I was at home preparing supper when SUDDENLY I felt like someone had thrown cold water on me and hit me in the gut at the same time. I knew my chick was hurt. I was frantically flying around trying to find where the youngest chick was playing outside, turn off the stove, round up the car keys, and grab my purse when the officer and gentleman drove into the driveway. I flew out the door screaming like a bantam hen for him to go to the ball field quickly and get our son and his bicycle. He asked what was wrong and I said, “I. DON’T. KNOW. JUST GO!!!”
You can imagine the look I got. (She needs meds!) But rather than argue of the senselessness of going, he acquiesced and backed out of the driveway at a s-n-a-i-l-’s pace, only to return in a few minutes without my chick, but with the bicycle and a sheepish and frightened expression. I of course was standing on the front porch waiting.
My husband rolled down the truck window and told me, “come on we needed to go to the hospital.” Our son had been taken to the hospital by a friend who was a nurse because he had been hit with a fast pitch to the head and the force was such that he had visible signs of a concussion immediately. We got there before the hospital or our friends could call because my “radar” was heeded. I got the time line and guess when my oldest chick got hit in the face…………the same minute I felt in my whole body something was wrong. I felt my son’s pain! My first words to our half conscious son were, “It’s mom, don’t be scared. It will be alright.”
Jesus has us on His radar. He feels our pain. He comes quickly to help! Jesus appeared as a ghost on the water. I appeared as a lunatic in the driveway. It all is the same. Love compels action to rescue the ones we love! Love says, “it will be ok, I am here with you!”
Do not be afraid of the storms of life. Jesus knows you are in them. He designed them. His coming in the storm reassures us how He loves us. A pastor once said, “you are going into a storm, are in the middle of a storm, or are coming out of a storm.” Jesus will still be there!
Chicken Little treading in the eye of today’s storm,