When reading the Bible often I am surprised by how I miss the obvious. Take Matthew 14:22-33 (ESV) which I read this morning.
Immediately he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowds. And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And in the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”
And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.”So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. And those in the boat worshiped him, saying,“Truly you are the Son of God.”
At the moment I am reading the Gospels for the second time this year — I try to read them 2-3 times each year as I am rather on keen on knowing and understanding more about Jesus. Previously I had not noticed verse 32,
And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased
I had worked on an idea of Jesus taking Peter’s hand and the wind stopped then. It appears to me that much of what is taught in discipleship classes, preached in sermons, seen on God tv, proclaims the idea that once the problem, difficulty, situation etc. is given to Jesus it stops being a problem.
Jesus seems to work differently here, the wind does not stop as soon as he takes hold of Peter’s hand. In effect he says, I will lift you up out of the mess and then walk with you whilst it still goes on around you.
A simple question occurred to me: Do I miss the presence of Jesus at times because I am waiting for the problem to be over not to simply be conscious of his presence with me in the midst of it?