Monday, March 2, 2015

He Goes The Extra Mile

A few days ago I found myself reading in Matthew. I found my way to verses 22-33 in chapter 14. Don't you love it when the Holy Spirit doesn't allow you to skip over His Word? Over the past few days I have tried to move on, but it wasn't to be. I kept going back over this scripture. God was wanting me to see something I had been missing. 

If you're like me we tend to skim over the Word and not spend enough time in one area. There is so much to uncover, but first we must be willing to open our heart to all the Lord has for us to see. 

So, here we have the disciples and Jesus. Imagine yourself there along the shore with them. Jesus had just fed the 5,000. He has His disciples to go ahead of Him while He heads to the mountain to pray for a while. Okay, what I love here is that Jesus Himself yearns to be alone with His Father and pray. This is so intimate and loving. Even in all the business of the day Jesus knows He needs to spend one on one time with His Father. The picture we are to have of our relationship with Jesus. 

The disciples are out in the boat. They are out past a mile from shore. Not an easy swim back to shore. The waves begin to stir. They aren't just stirring. They are being hit in the face with gale force winds. This is what I find amazing. They are out far from shore, but with these winds hitting them, they aren't going out farther. They are in a storm that has them frightened. These are fishermen. They are used to winds and waves, but this must be something they have never seen before. Maybe a storm that would cause them to remain ashore if they could have seen it coming. But they didn't see this one. It hit them blindsided. 

Now, this is where I found myself in awe of our God. Jesus is there. The disciples see Him coming toward the boat. They are terrified at first and think He is a ghost, but soon they realize He is Jesus and He's walking on water! Hello? Where did He come from? Did Jesus just appear or did He stroll right on out to the boat? Okay, right here I am reminded that wherever I am Jesus is there! He's in the middle of my storm. He sees what has blindsided me. I am there in my fear, but there is my Savior and He's telling me to not be afraid. 

Peter sees Jesus and goes to Him. Again the waves and winds hit Peter in the face and fear causes him to sink right where he is. He can't move. But we see Peter do what Jesus wants us to do in the middle of our fear. He cries out to Him. He asks Jesus to save him. Jesus reaches out and grabs Peter up. Yes, this is the Jesus we are to see here. The Jesus who is waiting and watching. Our All-Knowing, Omniscient God. 

"Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out for fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." And Peter answered Him and said, "Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water." So He said, "Come." And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, "Lord, save me!" And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, "O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, "Truly You are the Son of God." Matthew 14:22-33

What a picture of love. Jesus stretches out His hand to Peter. When Peter sees Jesus, He doesn't tell him to stay in the boat. He calls to Peter and says, "Come." Jesus wants us to get past our fear and set our eyes upon Him and Him alone. There are times our circumstances are not going to change, but if we make Jesus our center and our focus, our attitude changes and we begin to see things differently. 

As Jesus reaches for Peter and brings him up they get into the boat and the winds and waves cease. The storm is over. Why did they doubt? Could it have been their fear guiding them instead of their faith? Friends, being a Christian doesn't mean we are never going to have fear. But what it does mean is that we know without a doubt that Jesus is there and in the midst of our circumstance we are going to make the choice to believe. 

Satan would like nothing better but for us to remain paralyzed in our fear. Have you ever been so frightened that no words could come? I've had nightmares where I'm screaming out, but no words can be heard. Friends, the disciples were not by the shore. They were out past a mile from shore, but still yet Jesus heard them. He knew they were in need and He had no intention of leaving them alone. The storm raged on as the boat remained unable to move farther out, but what we must see is that there is no storm too big for our God. No length He will not go to save us! 

Wherever you are today, dear one, hang on tight and call out to Jesus. He is there in the midst of your storm. He is willing to go the extra mile for you. The question is, will you trust Him to take you ashore?
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