Have you ever felt like the LORD set you up? Like Joseph, did God gave you a dream? Or David,who knew his calling and then nothing seemed to go right?
“What happened,” you ask. “I thought I was favored by the LORD, a friend of God, yet it seems as though He has forgotten me.” Maybe He is a distant God after all! It seems like this happens to all of God’s “friends”.
In Mark 6 we read a classic example of one of God’s divine set-ups. Jesus has finished ministering to the people and He sends the disciples in a boat, ahead of him. He is cordial and polite to the crowd and sends them home. Now is His time to recharge in the presence of the Father and Spirit. Our Glorious Savior ascends the mountain to pray.
In the evening, while Jesus was still on the land, a storm picks up and He can see the boys, all experienced fisherman, in the boat struggling to row. Yet Jesus doesn’t come to their aid. He continues in prayer while the storm continues to rage. In fact He waits and doesn’t draw near until the fourth watch of the night. In other words, He waits until the last possible minute. Sounds like a divine set-up…
Why didn’t he respond immediately? I believe He was pressing and stretching them. Not because they made a mistake, but to prepare them for a day when He wouldn’t be with them in the flesh. He modeled the solution to their troubles and it wasn’t to fight the storm with all their strength. Had the boys cried out in prayer earlier, the storm may have lifted or they may have suddenly found their boat on the other side. If they had been in prayer like He was, they might have experienced a different outcome.
But they hadn’t missed God, Jesus sent them into that boat and ultimately into that storm. Not to drown them, punish them or harm them, but to teach them about prayer. Why do I say that? The next verse says Jesus was walking on the sea and intended to pass them by, but because of their fear He spoke to them, got in the boat, and the wind ceased.
Now look at the last verse which references their astonishment at the feeding of the 5,000 that had occurred just before the storm. “They hadn’t gained any insight from the loaves.” In that story Jesus told them to feed the hungry crowd.
I think both miracles were Jesus’ school of ministry and He was giving the disciples vision of what could be. You have access to the Father, you have authority and identity, now use it!
Maybe you are in an hour of testing. It might be early in the evening or the fourth watch of the night. Why not respond in line with your identity as a son or daughter of the King? Exercise your authority in prayer ask Him to assist you. The wind and storm may cease, the boat might pass through miraculously. Don’t worry or fret if you are a slow learner, He is the best Teacher.
All of Mark 6 is a reflection of Jesus’ radical commitment to calling out and developing the strengths in His disciples. He is committed to finishing the work He has begun in you!
“45 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He Himself was sending the crowd away. 46 After bidding them farewell, He left for the mountain to pray. 47 When it was evening, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and He was alone on the land. 48 Seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them. 49 But when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out; 50 for they all saw Him and were terrified. But immediately He spoke with them and said to them, “Take courage; it is I, do not be afraid.” 51 Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind stopped; and they were utterly astonished, 52 for they had not gained any insight from the incident of the loaves, but their heart was hardened.” Mark 6:46-52 NASB