4/3/14

God's got your back!


I've been studying the Gospel of Mark lately.  I'm learning about Mark as a writer and his unique way of showing us the power of Jesus - through the many miracles that Jesus performed, and ultimately, His death on the cross.

I was studying chapter 6 recently and found myself thinking about one particular part of the chapter all week long.

In this part of the text, Jesus and the disciples had just fed the 5,000 and Jesus instructed his guys to get in the boat and head out across the lake.  He told them he'd join them later.  They didn't ask how...and I guess it didn't really matter anyway.

After they set out in the boat, Jesus went up to the top of the mountain to spend time alone with His Father in prayer.  That evening, He looked out across the lake and could see that the disciples were struggling to row the boat against the wind.  They were too far out to turn back, but still had a ways to go.  We don't know how long this goes on, but regardless, Jesus sees what is happening.

{Jesus sees you, my friend!  No matter what you are struggling with, He knows and He cares.  Nothing that happens to you escapes His attention.}

Instead of going directly to the disciples and calming the storm immediately as Jesus could have, the Bible says that "He intended to pass them by".  When I read that, my mind was full of questions.  Why would He allow them to struggle and fear the storm?  Why would He just walk right past them and leave them to fend for themselves?

I suppose the answer to these questions could vary.  Maybe He wanted to test them or help them build some "spiritual muscle"?  But, as Jesus walked on the water across the lake, intending to pass by them, they saw Him and thought He was a ghost.  Needless to say, they were terrified!

{Have you ever been in a storm in your life and didn't recognize Jesus near you?  Were you afraid of what was going to happen to you during the storm?  I'm reminded of the saying, "Sometimes He calms the storm....sometimes He calms His child".}

When Jesus heard their cries of fear, He said, "It's me!  Do not be afraid".  It was only then that they recognized Him.  We know from the Gospel of Matthew that this is the same account where Peter walks on water toward Jesus, only to take his eyes off Him and have to be saved.  It is only when Jesus and Peter get in the boat that the winds calm and the storm subsides.

As I thought about this story all week, I felt God reminding me of three simple things:

(1) God's got our back.

Just like a parent watching their child from a distance to make certain they are ok, Jesus was watching the disciples in the boat on the lake.  He noticed they were struggling.  He notices us as well.  He sees our struggles and our fears....and wants us to know that He's Got Our Back!

(2)  He goes before us and prepares a way.

Maybe Jesus intended to pass them by because He wanted to go before them and prepare the way.  He might have even planned to have a fish breakfast waiting for them on the other side, but He cancelled His plans when they saw Him and were frightened.  Nevertheless, He has a good plan for our lives and will work through and with us to accomplish His will.

(3)  He makes detours.

Not only does God have our back and go before us to prepare a way for us, He also makes detours.  When we are struck with fear or uncertainties and cannot continue on our journey, He will meet us where we are.  He will turn around and come back to His children and help us in our time of need.

So the next time you are in a situation and find yourself afraid, remember that God sees you.  He has a good plan for your life and will make a way for you.  If you stumble or fall along the way and call out to Him, He will turn around and come to you.  He will meet you right where you are, strengthen you, and help you continue on your journey.

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