I had the privilege of attending a Woman’s Bible study recently and we took a look at Jesus’ walk on the water.
In the story (Mat. 14, Mark 6, and John 6), Jesus sent His disciples off in a boat and went up into the mountains to pray by Himself. A storm rose up suddenly and the disciples were afraid. Jesus went to them, walking on the water, and calmed the storm.
What the Bible study leader brought to my attention was that this was the second storm Jesus had calmed for them.
In Mat. 8 and Mark 4, we read about how Jesus got into a boat with His disciples and promptly fell asleep. A sudden storm rose up and His disciples woke Him, begging Him to save them. He did so by simply telling the storm to ‘Be still.’
Here’s my point, since the disciples had already witnessed Jesus’ sovereignty over nature, why didn’t they trust Him to quiet this storm too?
But then, I do this all the time. My husband and I just left the midst of a tumultuous job search and the undeniable fact that God has never before let us down, and never will, kept slipping my mind.
But I’m just a plain Jane, I didn’t walk with Jesus as the disciples did, so what’s their excuse (I ask defensively)?
There are probably several different reasons behind their lack of faith, but one in particular spoke volumes to me.
Let’s take a moment to step back and look at the events that preceded the storm. Earlier that same day, the disciples helped Jesus host a picnic for 5,000 men, not including the women and children.
According to Luke 9, we know that the disciples had just returned from being sent out to preach the Gospel and heal the sick.
We also know that Jesus and His disciples had just received the news about John the Baptist’s death.
Sound like a busy day? I should think so. In fact, it was busy enough to earn special note:
And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.
Their planned rest was interrupted in the very next verse by the arrival of the 5,000. By the time the disciples got in that boat at the end of the day, they must have been absolutely exhausted. Now you add to this the fact that their boat ride should have taken 1-2hrs and they were still in the middle of the lake at 3am. That means they were fighting the storm all night long and had only made it about half-way.
I can’t help wondering what the disciple’s reaction would have been if they’d been better rested.
In today’s overly hectic world of rushing to and fro, we so often get burned out. We spend the majority of our days, and sometimes nights, trying to survive between cups of coffee. And since all the things we are doing are astronomically important, we tell ourselves that it would be wrong to slow down, that an unchecked item on our to-do list is a failure of the highest order.
But Jesus teaches something very contrary to that popular belief.
He told His disciples to rest, and He Himself went off alone to talk to His Father and recharge. If you want further proof that rest is not a sinful action, I refer you to Gen. 2:2:
“And He [God] rested on the seventh day”
Don’t give into the lie that our lives can only matter if we accomplish something ever minute and never slow down. Yes, we are called to work. Yes, there will be plenty of times when, like the disciples, the needs of others outweigh our own and we will have to give until it hurts. But our time with the Lord must come first, and we need to guard it jealously, because the enemy loves to attack when we’re tired.
If there is no time for rest, no time to just be alone and talk to the Father, then may I suggest that it’s time to re-prioritize and slim down the to-do list?