I read another book by Max Lucado, a writer I respect and a teacher who has given me much peace—IN THE EYE OF THE STORM. In this book it says that “He is convinced Jesus’ tomb is empty.” That strength of faith encourages me.
The book is about one day in Jesus’ life, maybe the second most stressful besides the day of his crucifixion. Matthew 14; Mark 6; Luke 9; John 6.
He learned his cousin, John the Baptist, someone who probably understood him better than anyone else, had died. The news came that Herod might be after Jesus as well.
A good thing that happened on that day—his disciples returned excited about what god had done through them as they traveled teaching and healing. Jesus wanted to take them away by themselves for a while, but thousands of people followed him. He helped the people because he had compassion on them.
Mr. Lucado said the Greek word for compassion means from his gut, strong compassion. Jesus helped them because people are precious to god.
This was the day Jesus fed more than five thousand people, then they wanted to make him king.
Jesus knew what to do to keep his calm. He called home when the pressure was on, when the temptation was rising. The crowd was hungry, and his disciples didn’t know what to do. Jesus talked with his father.
He prayed before delivering food, and when the crowd wanted to make him king. He took the time to be alone to talk to his father.
It would have been tempting to let them make him king, to not go through the crucifixion, to get back at Herod for killing John the Baptist and possibly threatening Jesus. He didn’t want to listen to those voices. He wanted to hear his father’s voice.
Through storms of doubt, gentle lights can help. When big, terrible things happen, small, unexpected kindnesses and other delights can help. The disciples did not expect Jesus to come walking to them on the water. Like them, we need to be careful to watch for God’s answers to our prayers, which may come in ways we do not expect. God finds his path to us in the storm.
I’ve always been impressed by Peter, walking on the water. Sure he got scared and started to sink, but he had the nerve to get out there in the first place.
Often, our faith grows through fear, through terror. When Peter began to sink, he was terrified and called out to Jesus for help, and Jesus was there immediately.
Those times of terror are the times our faith can grow. Nothing Peter could do, nothing he was proud of, no legalistic religious strengths he had could help. Even his doubts didn’t stand in his way then. He just yelled for help, and Jesus was there.
I’ve called out to God many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a desperate place. My family has.
Almost seven years ago, I had a severe brain injury from a fall. For a time, they didn’t know if I would survive, or if I did, what shape I’d be in. I have very little memory of that time, but my family has shared some of what they went through.
Murray said on Facebook then: “We are completely helpless and have abandoned her to our sweet Lord Jesus.”
I know my family grew closer to God at that time.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.