Matthew 14:22, 23b-31a - Immediately He (Jesus) made the disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. ... When evening came, He was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." And Peter answered Him, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' He said, "Come." So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him ...
Just imagine the stress those disciples were under! First of all, Jesus tells them to cross the lake and leave Him behind. Then they had a terrible time with the wind and waves, to the point where they're still out on the lake at 3 a.m. But though it isn't fun, they're handling it, and God lets them.
But then they got the scare of their lives. They saw Jesus coming, walking on the water. "What was that? Was it a ghost?" They were terrified.
But Jesus intervened immediately to calm them down. "It's Me!" He said. "Don't be afraid!" Jesus was okay with letting them handle the other stress, but this fear was too much. And so He stepped in and dealt with it.
We see the same thing happen when Peter asks Jesus to command him to come to Him, walking on the water. Jesus is fine with that level of stress, and he says okay. He lets Peter deal with it. But when Peter starts sinking and cries out for help, Jesus grabs him immediately. That's way past what Jesus will let Peter deal with on his own.
Isn't this the way that God treats us, too? Most of the time, God lets us deal with the stress in our lives using the resources He has given us—prayer, good friends, good nutrition and sleep, Holy Communion, and so forth. But there are some times when we are ready to break, and God knows that. He stretches out His hand and helps us in a more direct way than we are used to.
Of course, the hardest times are when we feel we are about to break, but we don't yet see God's help coming to us. Why is God not helping us? we ask. Doesn't He notice? At times like that, we can do like the disciples—scream and cry out and beg for help, and keep doing that until God answers.
That's pretty audacious. But we can do it because Jesus has laid down His life for us to make us children of God. Our Father wants us to bug Him. That's what children do when they have complete trust in their parents. And we know that the Lord is utterly faithful and loving. So we cry out to Him in confidence, putting all our hope and trust in Him.
THE PRAYER: Lord, You know the stress in my life. Please help me! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When is the time you were very stressed and God helped you?
2. What is one thing that is bothering you a lot right now?
3. When you are worried, how do you remember to trust in God?
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