Saturday, January 21, 2017

In the Midst of the Storm

Through the years I've tried to understand why Jesus wept and even groaned in His spirit just before He raised His friend Lazarus from the dead.  I think I know and understand why now.  He hurt just like most of us do when death comes close to us.  Jesus felt what we feel … death hurts.  Death seems so final on this side of the grave.

No one died the evening Jesus sent His disciples to sea knowing He was sending them … out into the storm.  A brief miracle was going to take place on this dark and stormy night.  And as far as I know, it never happened again.

Peter walked on water

You remember the story in Matthew 14:22-33 … Peter sees Jesus walking past them on the water, right in the middle of the storm, where He sent them, and Peter asks Jesus if he can do the same thing.    
Is there a life lesson here?  Yes, there is … one most people don't want to hear about.
It's that God also arranges for us to encounter the storms in life just as His disciples did.  And when we are out on that stormy sea, if we start to sink and cry out to Jesus as Peter did … "Lord save me" … you may hear the very same thing Peter heard.

"O you of little faith, why did you doubt?"

The word doubt used here is "distazo" and it means … to duplicate or think twice, to waver mentally.

Peter was walking on the water just fine until he started looking around.  "But when he saw the wind …"

How did Peter see the wind?  He didn't.  The word saw is "blep'o" and means "to become aware" … in this case, aware of the waves the wind was making; which by the way had nothing to do with being able to walk on water.  They were not giving him buoyancy; they were not holding him up.

They were in fact a distraction that caused him to take his eyes off Jesus … where the miracle power really came from.  The power came from God, but the faith or lack of it was all Peter's … proven by the fact that Jesus didn't sink, Peter did.

What if the storm was but a test, (as it is many times with us) a life lesson to show Peter how much real faith he had.  Peter had real faith or he couldn't have walked on water. 

It was Peter's trust in Jesus that allowed him to believe that if his Lord told him, "Come, step out of the boat and … do what I'm doing … walking on water," he believed he could.  Peter believed Jesus would never tell him to do something he couldn't do, so without thinking twice, he just went for it by faith.  

Stepping out of the boat was not what got him in trouble.  It was simply this … after receiving the Word from the Lord, "Come, walk with me," and after acting on it, Peter had a "distazo" moment.  He wavered mentally and thought twice about where he was and what he was doing … but only after he was walking on water.

So what if it was contrary to the laws of nature.  Was he not doing what his Lord had given him permission to accomplish?  Did you notice the words Jesus later used to describe Peter?  "O you of little faith."

The two words little faith is "oligopistos" meaning incredulous … something you are not naturally disposed to.  This word oligopistos comes from the Greek word "oligos" meaning … puny or brief.

This life lesson is not about "great faith."  It's about … "puny, brief faith."  And isn't it true that he had enough of this puny, brief faith to walk on water?

If the Greek rendering of "little faith" is right, it also says that we are not naturally disposed to even this puny faith.  I'm not speaking of doubt and unbelief which is opposed to faith.  The word doubt in the question Jesus asked Peter is really not the right translation of the word.  It is "distazo" meaning to think twice, to waver.

When you ask something of the Lord … the first word you receive will be from the Lord.  The second word or thought that makes you "think twice" will be Satan trying to take away the word of God that was sown in your heart and replace it with a lie or half truth.  Satan is a master at manipulating your thoughts.
So how does he do it?  With a "distazo" moment … he causes you to "think twice" and you waver.  Satan wants you to take your eyes off Jesus and see only the storm around you exactly as Peter did.  If Satan can just get you to look around, "to become aware" of the distractions that usually come with the storm, then your faith will be brief  … and you will give up.

I have found that most miracles happenin the midst of the storm.

Comments welcome.