In Mark 6:45-51 Jesus’ disciples find themselves in a serious storm. They are “straining at the oars, because the wind was against them…[and]…terrified” by their circumstance.
This story reveals two facts every Christian needs to know about trials.
Your obedience to Jesus will sometimes result in an immediate trial with the world.
Consider Mark 6:45-48a which reads:
Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. When evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.
Jesus sent his disciples by boat to Bethsaida, yet their obedience to him resulted in a long night of great trial. The phrase “straining at the oars” coveys severe trouble and torment. These faithful disciples, who were squarely within God’s will, were fighting for their lives.
The disciples’ serious earthly trial on the lake was the immediate result of their godly obedience to Jesus.
Mark 6:48b-51 continues:
About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.
Many hours passed before Jesus went out to them. Not only was the storm serious, but Jesus actually waited until the fourth watch of the night which is just before dawn before coming to his disciples’ aid.
In fact, Jesus was about to pass by them. He purposefully kept his distance and delayed his intervention until the last moment.
Jesus waited because his disciples had forgotten him and not called on his name. The disciples limited themselves to a natural means of deliverance only and Jesus respected their decision.
Sometimes Jesus will wait and let you have your way while the world fails you, and he will do this for your own good. But, in the end, he will always be there when you finally turn and call to him.
Jesus amazed his disciples by delivering them in an unexpected and miraculous way. After walking on the lake, he climbed into the boat and the wind died down.
Jesus’ words to the disciples in their trial are his same words to you in your trial: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”