Devotional Stories to Help us Walk with Jesus:
Our Worst Nightmare!
The sun was sinking below the hill tops. Our restful day it was not. We just finished feeding several thousand people after a very long teaching session that seem to consume Jesus for most of the day. With the last basketful of leftovers of bread and fish loaded on the boat, Jesus tells us to set sail for Bethsaida on the other side of the sea—without Him!
He was still saying His goodbyes to the people. But, we also knew that sometimes Jesus liked to spend time praying alone after a busy day. He said He would catch up with us—somehow?
The evening was cool and winds gentle. It seemed to us that this overnight trip to the other side was going to be our “rest-a-while” time that we were all beyond needing. With no Jesus in the boat meant no challenges or surprises. We would be alone restfully sailing the then quiet nighttime waters. The bow pushing gently the sea waters aside with a slight splashing against the hull of the boat made perfect music for a restful night.
It didn’t stay that way. As is common on the Sea of Galilee, there are times when the wind surprises even the best of fishermen. When we got out into deeper waters the wind began to pick up. Quickly, the gentle breeze became a roaring gale with winds pouring down on us from the distant mountain canyons to our west.
So strong were the winds that the quiet sea quickly became a cauldron of unhappy water seeking to overwhelm us with mounting and surging waves. The capricious winds were blowing our boat off course—sometimes in the direction we had just traveled. We were not making any headway and it appeared to us we could all be drowned by the size of the ever-increasing waves.
Making every effort to keep us afloat, we were all doing what we could to keep the boat in one piece. So much for our restful evening at sea.
It must have been about three in the morning, we were still struggling by life and limb to keep the boat on top of the water. That’s when Peter came unglued. He saw a ghost walking on the water. Then we all saw it. With all that we were dealing with—and now a ghost! This has to be our worst nightmare! We were terrified!
Through the howling winds and roaring waves, we heard a familiar voice.
“Hi! It’s just me. You know, Jesus! The one you left on shore a few hours ago. Take heart. Don’t be afraid! I told you I would catch up with you. Well, here I am.”
Soaked to our skin by the storm, our boat bobbing like cork in mixing pot, and now being frighten out of our wits, we really didn’t know what to say.
“Aren’t you going to invite me on board?”
“Sure, Lord,” Peter finally yelled, stumbling all over his words. “Please, please come aboard.”
As soon as Jesus put one foot in the boat, the winds ceased and the waters quieted—all was at peace. We were utterly astounded! We were speechless! We didn’t even say. “Thank you, Lord!”
Jesus was on board, but we said nothing. Utterly amazed, our minds were still trying to put it all together.
Jesus broke the awkward silence. “Gather around, guys. I need with talk to you.” We all gathered around Jesus. “Men, you missed something pretty significant yesterday when I fed all those people.”
I thought we had picked up all the leftovers. What is He talking about? What could we have missed? We even thank the little boy who offered us his lunch.
“You failed to apprehend the importance about loaves. What did you see? People getting fed, or did you see Me who alone can feed the people. Because you failed to see the Glory of God, your dull and unresponsive hearts failed to see Me walking in the storm of your experience. You saw a ghost. Is that your view of God—a ghost? Just a vapor that soon disappears from view.
Whether I am the Bread of Life feeding thousands of people or the Master of Storms, I Am He! Your fear blocked your view of Me. How many times have I told you not to fear—not people or troubles that fill each day? Don’t be afraid! Believe and have faith in who I Am on your behalf.”
From this time forward, I think we all saw a little more of who Jesus truly is. We are learning that walking with Jesus is not about us or how we feel, but rather it is about Him, our Immanuel (God with us)!
Open my eyes that may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Clara H. Scott (1895)
Look for the next parable in spring 2021.
As an active member of the family at Trinity, Don is a regular contributor to Trinity’s weekly eNews letter. He enjoys writing and has authored several books, including “This Ugly Disease—A Caregiver’s Journey into Pain, Anguish and Hope.” With biblical insights, his writings provide spiritual encouragement for many. His son and daughter-in-law, Graham and Susan, are also members at Trinity.