“And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”
What does God do when we are waiting out a storm? Does He leave us to our own vices?
The disciples experienced a storm in which they were left alone. (John 6:16-24)
Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and they obeyed Him. They boarded their boat and set out across the lake. While out on the water, a storm developed. It caused strong winds and large waves, tossing them about in the dark of night. Where was Jesus? John says in a distressing phrase, “Jesus had not come to them”. (John 6:17)
What thoughts were stirring in their minds? Jesus had told them to do something, they obeyed and now they are caught in a storm. Why did they have to suffer through such a storm for doing what their Master told them to do? It is a tough lesson to learn that we will not always avoid suffering because we choose to do right. We assume that peace is what always follows obedience.
The disciples had been at sea for many hours. They were in a storm and they were alone. Rowing for nearly four miles (John 6:19) probably left them a little tired and quite scared. I am sure that more than once they scanned the darkness looking for Jesus on the shore. I imagine that they even called out his name. What was taking Jesus so long?
The storms of life will leave us feeling alone and wondering where God has gone. We yell out His name searching through the darkness but it appears He is nowhere around. The waves toss us leaving us to think that we just may drown.
Though the disciples felt alone, Jesus saw their struggles. “He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.” (Mark 6:48) He sat on the shore praying. He watched. He waited. He was waiting for the right moment. When He knew the time was right for Him to go to them, He did.
We do not know the reasoning Jesus had for leaving them out there for many hours but we know that God’s timing is perfect. He had a reason for making them wait and for making them endure the storm. Even when we think that God is not present, He sees and hears all things. There are no accidents where God is concerned, and all things that happen only bring us closer to Him.
Another great example would be that of those that wandered for forty years. Did you know that the route from Egypt into Israel is only about an eleven-day hike? There is a huge time difference between forty years and eleven days. Why did God allow the Israelites to wander for so long?
“Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. 3 He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 4 Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. 5 Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.”
I love this passage. It describes and answers for us why it was that God allowed it. He tested their hearts and dealt with their issues of pride. He showed them repeatedly that He would provide for them their every need.
We may find ourselves in a storm but we are not alone. God records every tear, sees every wave and hears our cries for help. He may not always answer right away when we call but it does not mean He is not listening. He has a plan. He has a purpose for our storm and at just the right moment, He will come.
“They saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. 20 But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.”
So where does this leave us in the midst of our own struggles? We row. We follow the example of the disciples and we struggle through the storm. We endure. In the end, we trust that God has a plan and that it is for our good. When the time is right, He will appear so don’t give up! He loves you too much to hurt you so even though you cannot hear or see Him, just trust Him. He is praying just for you.