Lessons from John 6: Trials are Opportunities
So the question is: Is prayer an active part of your Christian life? How much time do you spend in prayer and Bible study?
Without time alone with God we are all like a boat about to sink in the ocean of life’s drama. Won’t you commit yourself to God through setting aside a regular time of prayer and Bible study?
Your life will change dramatically when you do!
Well, John tells us that it had become dark, and Jesus had not come out to the boat. As they were moving towards the center of the lake, a strong wind began to blow and the waters grew rough!
Matthew and Mark tell us that the winds were against them. The waters had become dangerous and this made it difficult if not impossible to row the boat. And since this began around dusk and went into the night, the disciples had grown weary and tired.
They were drained of all their energy and surely frightened at their fate.
Yet, Mark tells us that Jesus could see the disciples from the mountain where He was in communion with His Father. He saw them straining at the oars because the wind was against them. Mark tells us that it was around the 4th watch when Jesus went out to them, walking on the water. Which was a miracle in itself because no one can walk on water. Let alone walk on a stormy lake with severe winds blowing!
When they had reached 3 ½ miles into the lake they saw Jesus approaching the boat and they became terrified. But He calmed them with His words. He said, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” And they willingly took Him into the boat. Immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.
Mark 6:51-52 says, “Then He climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.”
It appears that the people had a greater understanding of who Jesus was and the power He possessed. So He sent the disciples into the storm to teach them to look to Him in the trials of their lives.
Did you know that the word disciple means a learner?
A disciple is a learner. And in this case a learner of things about God.
The word discipline comes from the word disciple. And the word discipline means training that corrects, molds, or perfects. It is control gained by obedience or training in orderly conduct. In this case, God’s code of conduct.
There are times in our lives as learners that we need to be disciplined. Did you ever wonder where the 12 baskets of God’s faithfulness to meet the needs of the crowd were? Were they in the boat? Had the disciples already forgotten God’s provision?
The disciples were afraid, but Jesus’ presence calmed their fears.
We all experience trials. And we will sometimes experience fear in those trials. But it is what we do with that fear that counts. Do we try and deal with it ourselves, or do we let Jesus deal with it? Do we recognize that He is right there with us and He is the antidote for fear?
Trials are opportunities to see Jesus’ power and experience His presence.
In times of fear and uncertainty, it is calming to know that Christ is always with us.
What storm are you in the middle of? Won’t you invite Jesus into it and rest in His care?
And when in doubt, just preach the gospel to yourself!
We learn through 1 Corinthians 10:13 that, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind.” This means we are not as unique in our trials and temptations as we would like to think. Yet, God is faithful in these temptations and trials. He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear.
However heavy the burden may seem, He will not let the weight of it push us down or crush us.
Instead, the scripture says, “But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
- Jesus is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:25
- He promises to never leave us, nor will He ever forsake us. Hebrews 13:5b-6
- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
- We can cast all our cares/worries/anxieties upon Him, because He cares for us. 1 Peter 5:7
And aren’t you glad that He loves us enough to discipline us in love and then make a way out from under our demise?!
Why? Because He loves us!