Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
When they climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
Matthew 14:22-32, NLT
It had been a very long day. It began with the painful news that John the Baptist had been beheaded by the king as part of a twisted party game. John was a cousin to Jesus and the first to affirm who He was and His ministry; his death was a tragic and personal loss.
Jesus tried to get some space to grieve, but the crowds pressed and followed Him anyway. The day became late and the people were hungry. So, this also became the day when more than 5,000 people were miraculously fed from five small loaves and two fish, with leftovers to spare.
The passage says that as soon as the makeshift meal was over, Jesus told His disciples to get back in the boat and sail across; He needed time alone with His heavenly Father. And this is where our story of trust picks up – in the midst of pain and loss and never-ending work and exhaustion and longing for God.
So often, we somehow get the idea that trust is the result of things going well. We say to ourselves, “As soon as things get settled, then I’ll be able to trust God with this or that.” Perhaps we have confused certainty with trust. Trust steps out precisely when things aren’t certain or under control or convenient.
Trust looks beyond present circumstance to a Person. The Psalmist says it this way:
“Some trust in chariots, some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” [Psalm 20:7]
It was on this imperfect, difficult day that Jesus invited His disciples to step into a new trust in Him. We can expect that in similar moments in our lives, Jesus again will show up in unexpected ways and places, inviting us to grow in trusting God as well.
The Real Question: What is holding back my trust in God right now? Where is He inviting me to trust Him more?
Family Talk: Share with your kids what you have learned about trusting God. Give a specific example.
ONE in Prayer: God of All, help me to remember who You are, even on my worst days. Let me hear your invitation to trust You, and know that You can be trusted. Amen.
God asked me to trust Him with who I was going to marry. I had dated a guy off and on for 6 years. He didn't have the qualities I wanted in a husband, but I so desperately wanted him to "get it" so that I could marry him. I finally gave it to the Lord and let go of the relationship. When I did, God felt so near to me even though it was very difficult. A few years later, I married my best friend who had all the qualities I had prayed for in a husband plus many more. God knew, better than I did, what I wanted and what was best for me. I thank God over and over again for giving me the strength to trust Him.