Leviticus 14:33-57; Mark 6:45-56; Psalms 40:11-13; Proverbs 13:12-14
NT: “Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go ahead of him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After he said good-bye to them, he went away to the mountain to pray. Well into the night, the boat was in the middle of the sea, and he was alone on the land. He saw them straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Very early in the morning he came toward them walking on the sea and wanted to pass by them. When they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke with them and said, “Have courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. They were completely astounded, because they had not understood about the loaves. Instead, their hearts were hardened.” (Mark 6:45-52 CSB)
The disciples had just gone through a few days of powerful and incredible ministry. Jesus had sent them out in His power and authority; and in His name, they had healed the sick and cast out demons. Then they got to take part in Jesus’ miraculous feeding of the five thousand. They were definitely on a “ministry high.” So Jesus sent them on ahead of Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The first time He wanted them to go to the other side, He was with them in the boat as they encountered a dangerous storm. This time, He stayed behind to pray – and they were alone when they encountered strong winds that were against them. All night long they struggled against the winds to no affect. They got nowhere. Early the next morning, as they were still struggling to make progress, Jesus came casually walking on the water and would have passed them by, had they not cried out. As soon as Jesus got into the boat with them, the winds stopped and they immediately reached their destination. What a difference Jesus makes! I wonder, if at any time as they were struggling against the wind, if the disciples ever cried out to the Lord for help – or were they determined to get through the resistance in their own strength. It is inevitable – resistance always comes after impactful ministry. The enemy always tries to erase any forward momentum you gained in serving the Lord. What do we do in those times? I think the disciples learned that it is pointless to try and push through the resistance on your own. You need Jesus. When they needed Him, He was there. He is always present for us. We just need to remember to cry out to Him instead of muscling through adversity and getting nowhere.
Psalms: “Lord, you do not withhold your compassion from me. Your constant love and truth will always guard me. For troubles without number have surrounded me; my iniquities have overtaken me; I am unable to see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my courage leaves me. Lord, be pleased to rescue me; hurry to help me, Lord.” (Psalms 40:11-13 CSB)
King David was never without resistance and adversity. He learned where his help came from. His help came from the Lord. He knew that in his own strength, he would be completely overwhelmed, but with the Lord’s help, he would be rescued.
Proverbs: “Hope delayed makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life. The one who has contempt for instruction will pay the penalty, but the one who respects a command will be rewarded.” (Proverbs 13:12-13 CSB)
Hope delayed does make the heart sick. It can become discouraging the longer we wait for a promise to arrive. Yet, we also have faith in God’s word that fuels our hope. If we honor the Lord’s commands, we will be rewarded… promise will be fulfilled. As hope is delayed and the winds of resistance start picking up, we who are in Christ, have the Holy Spirit within us. The same Holy Spirit that was in Christ encourages us, comforts us, strengthens us, reminds us, teaches us, and helps us. Through the present Holy Spirit, we are able to remain faithful to God’s commands and not be blown into contempt for His words. Through the present Holy Spirit, we are able to withstand the winds of resistance and arrive at the other side and see promise fulfilled.