Daily Devotional – Thursday, July 29, 2021
[Inspired by a devotional by Oswald J. Chambers, “My Utmost for His Highest.”]
“When Jesus and Peter climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped. Then the disciples worshiped him. ‘You really are the Son of God!’ they exclaimed.” (Matthew 14:32-33, NLT)
After miraculously feeding 5,000 men plus women and children with five small loaves and two fish (Matthew 14), Jesus tells His disciples to get in their boat and head to the other side of the lake as He sends the people home. However, while they were still far from shore a strong wind rose up and they found themselves struggling with the waves to make any progress; they were in trouble. Matthew tells us that at about 3:00am, they saw a figure walking out on the water and they were terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost. Jesus called out to the them, reassuring them; Peter, the ever-impetuous disciple, asks to join Jesus on the water and he is invited to do so. But part way through his walk on the water to Jesus, he becomes petrified as the wind and waves continue to threaten their safety and he calls out in terror for Jesus to rescue him. Jesus does so, but also tells Peter his faith is still too small, which would have also served as a judgment against all the others who had remained in the boat.
We might read this story as an interruption. Jesus had given them an instruction, to go and take the boat to the other side of the lake. But what if the destination was not Jesus’ goal at all? He deliberately stays behind while He sends them ahead. It was on their journey that Jesus rejoins them…as they are struggling to accomplish His direction. As a result, they are provided with more clear evidence of His Lordship, their need to grow in their faith and His right to their worship. If the disciples had not been met with the storm, think of how uneventful their trip would have been, devoid of this incredible experience with Jesus.
The same can be true for us. It’s not the reaching of the destination that grows us spiritually; it is in our struggles throughout the journey to get there. Jesus isn’t standing on the shoreline, placidly waiting for us to arrive. He joins us in the storm—providing His assistance, growing our faith and demonstrating His Lordship. So, the next time you find yourself struggling to reach some destination, remember that God’s goal for you is often achieved in the journey as you experience the waves and wind, not in calm sailing and not even in arriving at the destination. It is on the journey that Jesus joins us and it is there that our faith has real opportunity to grow and mature. And isn’t that God’s greatest desire for each one of us?
~ Pastor Jane
First licensed for pastoral ministry in 1994, Pastor Jane Peck has served in camp and church ministries in three denominations, five provinces and in a variety of roles. Her most recent position is that of Pastor at Hope Chapel which she began in 2020. She is excited to see what God can and will do in the days to come!