Almost two thousand years ago, Jesus miraculously fed five thousand people in a desert place (see Matthew 14:14-21), and then compelled “…His disciples to get into a ship, and to go before Him to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee]…while He sent the multitudes away, He went up into the mountain apart to pray, when the evening was come, He was there alone…But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary” (Matthew 14:22-24).
Immense storms often move into the Sea of Galilee from the Mediterranean through a valley on the west side of the sea. Very strong winds commonly accompanied these storms. The disciples were forced to face such fierce wind howling through the valley that night. It wasn’t long before they found themselves roughly tossed about in the middle of the sea. They had to face the discouraging task of rowing against the wind and strong waves as they attempted to head back to Capernaum.
“And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying—It is a spirit; and they cried out from for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, `Be of good courage, it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered Him and said, Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord], save me (Matthew 4:25-30). Peter took his eyes off Jesus in the midst of the storm’s raging winds and waves. And that same spirit of fear will present itself to all who take their eyes off of Jesus.
The whole world has been observing the darkness of a great storm lately, along with the heaviness of dark clouds and boisterous winds coming over it. The days facing us now are very difficult, as we continually receive distressing world news. Many have begun to sink into fear and cry out “Lord, save us…” like Peter did. But save us from what? Why do many cry out to Him? Is it from fear of the great darkened cloud of the coming judgment of their sins?
In this distressed world today, with its many works of darkness, there is so much fear. Sinful actions are not difficult to distinguish in the works of the flesh today. They involve problems like “…adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…” (Galatians 4:19-20), along with corruption and violence. These are called works of darkness because they arise from man’s corrupt nature and reveal that men are of the world system. How often these acts of sin are performed out of sight, although they are always seen by God, Who searches the heart. But on Judgment Day, they will all be brought to light.
Even though people may slip in and out of any of these evil things for a while, solemn condemnation has already been declared upon them. Jesus warns people now, as He did while He was here, “that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21). But, to all who believe in Him, Jesus is the power of God, no matter what the difficulty may be.
Most followers of Christ realize that we have to deal with Satan, our common enemy. But God is at work in us “…both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). He feels deep concern for those who are doing His will while fighting under His command. He’s so far removed from abandoning us in any way, that our soul has been convinced that He’s committed to see us through to the very end. There is a great war with God’s adversary in the darkness of the soon-coming storm, which is bringing terrible heaviness in clouds of sorrow. All humanity is involved with this same wicked opponent. God’s understanding of the war with Satan that we are currently engaged in is very serious. An enormous storm with tumultuous winds is due to descend over the whole world soon.
Circumstances of our present-day world can easily consume our thoughts and feed our spirit and soul with doubt and fear. If Jesus Himself felt it was necessary in situations like these to be strengthened by prayer, how much more do we, His weak, inadequate followers, need to do so? On such occasions, we need to realize how necessary it is to be strengthened through prayer.
Within the darkness of the storm, a great war with God’s adversary has arrived, bringing the terrifying heaviness of clouds of sorrow with it. But we need to remind ourselves that “…Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught…” Peter in the midst of the storm “…and said unto him, O thou of little faith, why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:31). Even in a time of great storms, Jesus will be a very present help to us. When the disciples could not see and feel the evidence of Jesus’ presence in the gloomy evening, they thought He had abandoned them. But He came to help them through the storm nevertheless, and they were saved.
From then on, the disciples’ slogan became “Be of good cheer.” Jesus is more than sufficient in the presence of human need, whether it involves the lack of a multitude or the weak faith of His disciples. He is without equal when facing terrific powers exerted by our adversary. He not only walked upon the stormy waters Himself, but He also made it possible for a weak and fearful disciple to do so. During the stormy circumstances on the sea (see Matthew 14:22-34), Jesus showed that He was quite capable of conquering the storm, because His power is over all power of the devil. And He presents Himself today as absolutely supreme over all. The storm was nothing to Him, even though it was very distressing to the disciples. They encountered the One whose presence brought good cheer to them, even while the storm still raged. When Jesus came into their boat, the wind ceased! If we will only cry out to Jesus too, He will save us. Whatever difficulty we may face in this world, don’t ever doubt that God cares. We can most firmly believe that, in any situation, Christ is the power of God to all who believe.