Most of us Christ-followers have some level of difficulty applying spiritual concepts to the reality of daily living. While we feel encouraged by reading scripture and/or devotionals, are we actually putting these Truths into practice? In reality, our first course of action is to do whatever it is that we know to do – whether that is to take medication, see a doctor, talk to our child’s teacher, reason with the boss, or go to the grocery store. When the situation becomes more of a crisis and our natural solutions fail, we likely include prayer in our list of go-to’s. Sadly, very often in these escalated situations, it feels like God allows us to struggle in that place.
Jesus’ 12 disciples were really no different from us in the way they approached life. When faced with 5000 hungry men and a puny ministry pocketbook lacking funds for boxed lunches, it made little difference that one mother had thought to pack food for her son. It didn’t occur to them that Jesus could use and multiply minuscule provision. But, what Jesus did was so incredible that the people wanted to make Him King; He could put an end to the national hunger problem. Instead, Jesus stole away to pray and sent the disciples ahead of Him in a boat towards Capernaum. Crossing the Sea of Galilee was no small endeavor on an ordinary day. But this time strong winds were blowing against the boat, not only producing great resistance, but creating huge waves that would toss the boat so high that the oars often didn’t connect with the water. Night had fallen by the time they were only three and a half miles from shore – not nearly to the other side – and they were already exhausted. (John 6:1-21)
How many of us have cared for a sick or aging loved one, worked more than one job, born the stress and expense of legal matters, endured painful medical tests/surgeries, constantly reached out to wayward or addicted children, or engaged in any other laborious endeavor? Invariably, we will continue struggling in that place until we’re exhausted or believe our best efforts are futile. God actually does allow the struggle, for it is only then that we will strain our eyes to see if it is Jesus Who is approaching us in the dark. Even so, have we become so comfortable with Him as a friend that watching Him defy natural conditions, like walking on top of 4-8 foot waves, is actually frightening? Do we have the courage to call that kind of Power to our boats and totally let go of the oars in taking Him onboard?
If we have received Jesus as Savior, He is walking beside us through all the details of life, even when we can’t distinguish His form. But as long as we believe we’re making headway in our lives, we’ll keep rowing, even to the degree our hands become frozen to the oars. When Jesus climbed into the disciples’ boat, they were immediately transported to the opposite shore— an instantaneous relocation miracle with the cessation of effort. If Jesus will do that in a crisis, imagine what He can do in the more common, mundane events of daily life. If He can actually be trusted with EVERYTHING, why is it so scary and impossible to let go of the oars?