Sitting with the Shepherd
Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. (Matthew 14:22-23 NKJV)
Immediately on the heels of the only miracle that Jesus performed recorded in all four Gospels, Jesus urged His disciples to get into a boat together, separating themselves from Him and everybody else, to embark on a journey. Surely He was aware the danger that they were facing, and yet He chose not to accompany them. I believe that He knew they had a lesson to learn and needed to be on their own to learn it. He was helping them to exercise their faith in His absence. But Jesus Christ never left them totally alone in the sense that He never stopped praying. The Greek word pros-yoo'-khom-ahee, means to pray to God, that is, supplicate, worship: - pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer. So it is safe to say that He was interceding on His disciple's behalf before the Father. The disciples were fighting a significant storm for a lengthy period of time thinking that they were alone. Jesus Christ allowed them to row for three or four miles before coming to their rescue.
We can learn from this that although we don't always see God's love and care in the midst of a trial, it doesn't mean that He isn't aware or concerned. And although the storms in our life aren't calmed immediately, it doesn't mean He hasn't heard or doesn't care. The disciples were fighting for their lives and He knew it. He also knew that there was a lesson that they needed to learn about faith. He allowed them to grow in their experience before He showed up personally and doing what only He could do. In the same way He loves you and I and lives at the right hand of God to make intercession for us. Once we have learned what we need to learn from a trial He will show up. And in my experience when He shows up, He shows off!
Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:33-35 NKJV)
Questions for Personal Reflection or Discussion
1. What did the disciples learn by struggling with the storm?
2. When has God allowed a trial in your life to last longer than you would have liked?
3. How has God answered your prayers in amazing ways when you least expected it?
My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, thank You for interceding for me in the good times and the bad. I confess that there were times that I doubted Your love and faithfulness. Thank You that You are the author and finisher of my faith, and Your faithfulness never waivers. Thank You for all of the answers that You gave to my prayers that were well beyond my expectations. Amen