"Immediately Jesus commanded His disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds back."
(Matthew 14: 22-30)
This passage teaches us to be calm in an unexpected place, to be calm on a ship that is about to sink. Even though conditions are beyond human control, believe that they are not beyond God's control.
There are some things we have today — good things or problems — that are not things the Lord commanded. However, in this story, the Lord Jesus Himself told the disciples to get on the boat and go to the other side. Unexpectedly, Jesus’ command actually led His disciples to face a raging storm that almost made them drown. We have a job or a business that comes from the Lord, but maybe right now the conditions are almost sinking. Similar to the panic experienced by Jesus' disciples on the ship, we are afraid too.
One thing we need to believe, when God commands something, our job is to obey. God is in charge of our lives. Even sometimes we could not see Jesus, keep believing that God is with us. Learn to trust God, who commands us to live for Him. Learn to surrender the life He gave.
In verse 22, God gave a different treatment for the disciples and 'other people.' God told His disciples to come forward and face the problems, on the other hand He told the crowds to go home. He knew that His disciples would still believe in Him despite the storm, in contrast to other people who were likely to back-off. Evidently, Jesus' disciples continued to move forward despite the storm. They remembered, it was God who told them to go forward to the other side. That is the difference between disciples and ordinary people. Disciples do not give up easily.
While in the middle of the ocean, the disciples did not see Jesus in a storm because Jesus was on a hill. He is praying for all of us. We also need to imitate Him to pray, not only praying for our needs, but also praying for what God is praying for. Pray for the salvation of souls, pray for the salvation of the nation and country. Keep praying even though miracles do not happen immediately.
To experience miracles, God often teaches us to be patient. When God approached His disciples in the midst of a storm, they were afraid. God does work divinely and beyond human reason. That is why the disciples were afraid. We should only fear God. It will be dangerous if we do the wrong thing, God will be called ghost and ghost will be called "God." People who have been possessed by the spirit of slavery are likely to make wrong decisions. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, what we should have been respecting / fearing has not been feared (bent by Satan). On the other hand, what should be under our control frightens us.
When God walked on the water toward His disciples, the Lord Jesus wanted to teach His disciples to overcome the condition. Walk by faith and don't be afraid of tomorrow. Don't be afraid of today's reality either, because each day has enough trouble of its own. God never creates fear to paralyze us. We fear life because of our imperfect knowledge of God.
When God tells us to calm down and not be afraid, there must be a reason for it. It must be because He is in control of the situation and has a solution for it. Have you ever noticed, the disciples were tossed around for 9 hours and no one was hurt or drowned? Why? Knowing God with all your heart can eliminate fear. Today, whatever our condition is, God is taking care of our life. When we are still alive today, that too is God's providence.
Be calm, don't be afraid, but don't be reckless. Before deciding anything, seek God. Consult with trustworthy people. Learning from Peter to make sure first before he stepped on the water, he asked "Lord, if you are, tell me to come to you walking on the water." Ask the Holy Spirit for confirmation regarding whatever decision we will make.
When problems occur, we need to see and understand the meaning behind them. However, don't focus and let the problems engulf us. These days, do not easily be influenced by negative news. Learn to look at our condition but believing in the things we cannot see. Believe it, even if we almost drown we will always have ample opportunity to step up. When Peter was drowning, God helped him just in time. Don't let your heart be overwhelmed by your condition. Your heart will always have enough ability to grasp His hands.
Excerpted from Ps. Philip Mantofa's sermon, 15 April 2020, Youtube & Instagram Live