Dryness (Matthew 14:25-27)

Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

There are times we expect to encounter God. Sometimes there is a special gathering of   the saints for the purpose of going deeper in our relationship with Christ. If we go to one of those gatherings, is expected that we encounter Christ. When we have taken a week off as a Sabbath week to focus on Jesus, it is expected that we encounter Him. When we ‘feel the presence’ after a prolonged time in worship, it is expected that we meet Jesus. But when we are focused on our circumstance and all seems against us, we do not expect to meet Him. In fact, when we do see Jesus at such times, His presence startles us. It is unnerving and a bit scary. We were not expecting Him, and we were not expecting Him to be there in the midst of that unbecoming circumstance. 

In the late part of the night, Jesus has chosen to rejoin His disciples, who are rowing across the lake, “… Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.”

Reading Matthew’s account, it doesn’t seem all that bizarre to us. We who live on this side of the cross all expect Jesus – now resurrected and glorified – to be able to do things like walk across open water. But the disciples were at the time living on the far side of the cross. Jesus had not yet been crucified. His disciples were not even expecting Him to die at this point in His ministry. Yet now He walks across the open water. And it is not even still water! Matthew had written how Jesus had seen the boat, “..buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.” That meant there would’ve been considerable waves. The disciples would’ve been pulling with all their might on the oars, focused on trying to reach land. Moreover, having endured a long day with Jesus followed by this wild exercise session throughout the night, they’d be exhausted. One can almost imagine what is going through their minds. “Why did He tell us to leave when it was already getting dark?” “Why are we even trying to reach the far side – maybe we should go with the wind and head back to where we started?” “This is a crazy amount of opposition, why didn’t Jesus come with us?” 

And then, suddenly and without warning, a figure appears. It’s off the side of the boat. It looks like a man. A man doing what a man cannot do: Seemingly without effort overtaking the boat by walking on the waves in the dark of the night. One commentator writes, “Through the spray and in the gloom of early dawn the approaching figure could well look rather surreal; and walking on the water may seem to fit better with a floating spirit than a flesh-and-blood human figure.” It is little wonder they were terrified and did not recognize their Master. Yet there He is. And as always, His words are comforting and encouraging.” “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 

Jesus may send us to do difficult things. But He is watching over us. He will come alongside us and speak to us. Even when we least expect it. PTL.

Expect to find Jesus where you’d least expect Him—more in failure than in success; more in poverty than in luxury; more among the downcast and dubious than the bright and beautiful.

Mike Erre

APPLICATION: Intentionality

Jesus is always with us when we are about His purposes. Apply your faith and take courage then;  He has not abandoned you, even if you see or hear Him not for a season.