Jesus, Where Are You?
Day: 8 | Plan: Mark
Today's Reading: Mark 6:30-56
Mark 6:47-48a (NIV) "Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them."
Have you ever walked through something so difficult, so terrifying, that you've caught yourself asking, "Jesus, where are You?"
Sometimes when life gets messy, it can feel like our Messiah has gone missing.
That's exactly the kind of situation we find the disciples in as we read Mark 6. Right after the feeding of the 5,000, they got in a boat, and strong winds caused the water to get very rough. The disciples were straining at the oars as the realities of life beat against them.
A deeper study of the Greek word basanizó (bas-an-id'-zo) that is translated "straining" here in Mark 6:48 reveals just how distressing their circumstances were. The literal translation actually means "to torment." It's a word we see used in the context of the torment caused by demon possession. (Matthew 8:6; Mark 5:7) It's meaning also extends from the challenge of childbirth to the suffering that will take place in hell. (Revelation 12:2) Mark clearly wants to emphasize the serious turmoil and struggle these men were facing.
This storm was a terrifying mess for them. The waves weren't just ebbing, cresting and crashing like you've probably seen if you've ever been in rough waters. These waves were bubbling up and exploding all around them in unpredictable ways. Think what it looks like when you place a straw in a glass of water and blow with great force. They couldn't brace themselves or their boat. They were completely helpless and swallowed up by fear.
I certainly can't blame them for being afraid in that moment. Sometimes it's hard not to be completely consumed by fear in the midst of our messes, isn't it? Especially when life feels hopeless. Like a taste of hell right here on earth.
Oh, how thankful I am that even when our storms cause us to lose sight of hope, Jesus never loses sight of us.
While the disciples were in the boat straining, Jesus was on the mountainside praying. From Mt. Arbel, Jesus could see the middle of the lake where the disciples were. "Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them" (Mark 6:47-48a).
Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they almost completely missed the miracle in the midst of their mess.
The same miracle worker who multiplied the fish and the loaves was now walking on water near them, and they thought He was a ghost. They were terrified and then amazed, but they didn't understand, for the Scriptures say, "their hearts were hardened," (Mark 6:52b). We'll dig more into what it means to have a hardened heart and how we can avoid having one in our More Moments section today.
But for now, I want us to notice Jesus' response to the disciples who missed Him and who cried out in fear, not faith. The Scripture says immediately (I love that it was immediate) He spoke to them and said, "Don't be afraid" (Mark 6:50b). The word used here means "don't resist Me." And He climbed into the boat with them.
He's saying the same thing to you and me. He's not running from our mess. He's climbing in it to be right there with us. And with His presence comes peace.
He wants us to see Him, sweet friends. He wants us to know Him — truth we discover not just in this passage, but all throughout Scripture. The same God who willingly revealed Himself to Moses (Exodus 33:19, Exodus 33:22, Exodus 34:6) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:11) as He passed by them wants to reveal the fullness of His peace and the power of His presence to us as well.
In the midst of whatever hurts and heartbreaks are disrupting our peace, I pray we will see Him coming. We no longer have to cry out in fear; we can call out in faith. Calm and trusting. Anxious for nothing. Because we know. We know He sees us. We know He's for us. We know He's in control.
Yes. The Lord is near. And we are safe.
Prayer: Oh Lord, let me see this. Please don't let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence. Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me. And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence. In Jesus' name, amen.
Mark 6:52 tells us that the disciples had not understood the miracle of Jesus feeding the 5,000... Read More
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