But Jesus spoke to them at once: “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!”
Matthew 14:27, NLT
This is a passage you may be familiar with. Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him in the boat; they are to travel to the other side while he finished up with the crowd of people he had just finished teaching. Jesus took his time, dismissed the people, and then prayed on a mountaintop to God. Then he walks across the lake, walked on water, to meet up with his disciples in the boat. Just a normal evening in the life of Jesus, right?
The disciples are sure it’s a ghost (I would think so too. I have yet to see anyone walk on water). They misinterpret what is in front of them, allowing fear rule their minds, rather than trusting their teacher. Jesus tells them to take courage. Peter challenges him, if it is you LORD tell me to come to you. So Jesus calls Peter out of the boat and he starts walking on water as well (There’s two of them now). Peter takes the dive, trusting Jesus. Miraculous! But the miracle lasts only a moment, because then the wind comes. Fear fills Peter once again. He focuses on that fear, instead of Jesus, and starts sinking.
In this story, the boat serves as a place of comfort for the disciples. The wind is the circumstance that lends to Peter’s fear. What’s your boat of comfort that you’re sitting within? What winds are you afraid of?
Have you ever begun to sink in your own fear? I sure have. Sometimes it’s a daily struggle to keep fear from consuming my mind. I have to consistently set aside what everything around me seems to look like, and search for the eyes of Jesus. He’s right here, in front of me, whispering take courage, I am here. I need to trust in my teacher, and disregard the situations surrounding me.
Jesus had JUST TOLD PETER that he was there, that there was not a single reason to fear, and that he has every reason to take courage. Yet MOMENTS LATER, Peter turns ever so slightly, focusing on the circumstance surrounding him rather than the Jesus in front of him.
Ah, how often do we ourselves lose sight? How often do we look at our circumstances rather than our LORD? Not only is Jesus in front of us and leading us—he is WITHIN US. Jesus lives INSIDE OF US as believers. We know this, practically speaking. But sometimes we lose heart and allow that to slip, giving our attention elsewhere.
Jesus is here telling you there is nothing to fear, instructing you to take courage. HE IS YOUR COURAGE, and you are never alone. Train your eyes to focus on Jesus, ignore the pestering of the wind! It is nothing but a distraction from your savior, teacher, and friend. Jesus is near, walking towards you, encouraging you to continue moving towards him.
Dear Jesus, help us to reevaluate where our comfort lies. Retrain our eyes to stay upon you. Allow us to recognize your voice apart from the distractions and lies of the enemy. Thank you for your courage. We are so grateful that you choose to make your home in our hearts. We love you. Teach us to take courage amidst our life circumstances. Amen.
Devotional written by Heather Christy. Graphic designed by Daniel Christy.