“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” (Mark 6:50)
After Jesus fed the huge crowd of thousands of people, he sent his disciples ahead of him in their boat to the next lakeside town. Later, in the deep of night, they were straining to make headway against a strong wind.
Jesus had gone to a quiet place to pray, and then, just before dawn, “he went out to them, walking on the lake.”
Now, to our way of thinking, it’s utterly amazing that Jesus would walk on water. But there is a lot more going on here. In the minds of ancient peoples, he was walking on the fearful, untamable, uncontrollable, deadly sea. So he wasn’t just walking on water; he was trampling on chaos!
Seeing their great trouble in the darkest part of the night (just before dawn) and on the deepest part of the lake (the middle), Jesus goes out to his followers, and they are terrified.
But look at what happens: with great care he encourages and assures them not to be afraid. He is with them. And when he gets into the boat, all is calm.
I can identify with the disciples. I sometimes struggle with believing God’s care and power are for me. But Jesus doesn’t reject his tired, confused, and fearful disciples. Instead, he helps them to believe! Even through the dark and from a great distance and despite our fear, Jesus comes to us and invites us to trust in him.
Jesus, you are Lord over all that is dark and fearful and chaotic. Help me to take courage, for you come to me in my distress. With you, I need not be afraid. Amen.