Dear Friend of the Ministry:
An unforgettable day quickly turned into an unforgettable night.
Jesus had just spent numerous hours along the shoreline teaching thousands of hungry souls, then miraculously feeding their empty stomachs. I imagine it surprised the disciples when He told them to board the boat and head to the other side of the Sea of Galilee . . . without Him!
The exhausted disciples embarked as Jesus sent the astonished crowds home and journeyed to a nearby mountaintop to be alone with the Father. That’s when everything broke loose.
Violent winds stirred up dangerous waves that battered the disciples’ boat. Their fatigue and lack of sleep likely caused adrenaline to kick-in. But no human cunning or force would be able to save them. The tempest was too fierce. The shore was too distant. Then, to add to their panic, they all looked out while trying to keep their footing and they saw a ghost on the waves of that angry sea! Or so they thought.
Out of the frightening darkness, Jesus reassured them while He walked on the surging waters, “Don’t be afraid. . . . Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27).
How would you have reacted? Perhaps, “Lord, stop the storm!” Of all that Peter could have possibly said, he asked Jesus to call him onto the water! Jesus did . . . and Peter stood on the lake’s surface as though he were standing on a rock . . . until he took his eyes off Jesus.
Doesn’t that scene paint a powerful picture of true discipleship? How easy to take our eyes away from Jesus as we fret over life’s chaos. Once Peter began to sink, Jesus pulled him out of the water. Together they climbed into the boat. Immediately, the winds died down.
You may feel as though you’re all alone during your darkest nights, but you aren’t. You may think life’s storms will last forever, but they won’t. You may fear you’ll perish and be separated from your Savior forever during those dreadful moments, but you can’t. He will lift you up!
When those times come . . . not if . . . don’t be afraid. Take courage. Jesus is with you. Remember, He’s not a ghost. He is your sovereign Lord. The God who made the heavens and the earth orchestrates these experiences in our lives to drive us to our knees in prayer and to turn our eyes to Him in worship. Blessed are those times because they teach us to depend fully upon our all-powerful God and draw us deeply into an intimate relationship with Him.
Understand, this isn’t a one-time truth or even a once-a-week plan. It’s a daily, ALL-TIME TRUTH, which is why Insight for Living Ministries commits to broadcasting God’s Word EVERY DAY. Life’s harsh winds and massive waves always try to steal our focus from Jesus, but biblical truth enables us to fix our eyes on the Lord God, the Almighty.
If IFLM has been a source of spiritual survival in your life, will you please send a generous donation to us this month? Your gift will keep us going strong. And that will allow us to strengthen your faith and the faith of others like you. That’s what we’re aiming for at IFLM—to point all people to Jesus, to turn to Him and be saved, to find hope, and to live empowered. So, learn a lesson from Peter’s mistake: keep looking to Jesus, no matter what!
Focusing on Him with you,
Pastor Charles R. Swindoll