Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“I am not ashamed, for I know, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with Him Whom I have believed and trusted in and relied on, and I am positively persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me until that day.”
II Timothy 1:12
“Feeling is not to be trusted.
Fear may drive away all feeling.
Faith by itself is not to be trusted.
Our standing fast is due to a living,
Interceding Saviour, and our eye
must rest on Him in an hour of trial.”
Andrew A. Bonar
Today’s Study Text:
“On that same day when evening had come, He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ And leaving the throng, they took Him with them, just as He was, in the boat in which He was sitting. And other boats were with Him.”
“The Farce We Call Fear” Part 12
“Jesus Lead Me All the Way”
“The life of the believer is a conducted tour, and the skillful guide is Abraham’s guide and ours. He knows the end of the journey which is in view, and He knows the best way to arrive there.
Have I purposed in my heart that I would follow God no matter how difficult the path?
Do I believe that God is calling upon me to walk along with Him on a path that in His wisdom He has laid out for me?
“Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be:
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the path for me.”
“A simple, childlike faith in a Divine Friend solves all the problems that come to us by land or sea.”
It had been a long day. Jesus had so many people longing to sit at His feet and learn of Him and so He chose to use a boat on Galilee as His platform. We are told in Mark 4: 35, 36, that when “evening had come,” Jesus instructed His disciples to take Him across the lake, and so, traveling with Jesus, the group pushed off to make the journey. It’s important to note that Mark shares a special detail when he states “other boats were with Him.”
I’d like to take a moment to set up this scene. Jesus’ teaching all day had been one filled with inspirational words of encouragement about His Kingdom. Now as the sun sank in the west, Jesus thought it appropriate to cross the Sea of Galilee. This wouldn’t have been a problem in the daylight for you could navigate the water with much clearer vision. But in the darkness of night, Galilee had proved to be a dangerous place. Swift winds swept down the canyons and hillsides surrounding the sea, making it a terrible place to be stuck in a storm.
We should note that none of the experienced fishermen traveling with Jesus on this journey spoke up with a warning that traveling might not be easy during the nighttime. Instead, not only Jesus and His disciples “hit the water” but Mark, in his detailed narrative points out that other boats, most likely filled with people who had come to hear Jesus all day long, joined the flotilla. This becomes an interesting point as we consider this journey across the water.
In the past when reading this story, I simply passed off the adventure as another tough night in a storm for Jesus and His closest friends. But as I went through the specifics found in Mark 4, I identified four unique details which will help us as we look at the practical ways this experience can teach us to replace our earthly fear with heavenly faith.
Point #1: It was Jesus who lead this expedition. He not only chose to cross Galilee, He also invited His disciples to come along.
Point #2: It was Jesus who chose the time of departure.
Point #3: It was Jesus who knew that the trip was going to be carried out as darkness descended upon the Sea of Galilee. He was aware, ahead of time, that the pitch black sea and sky could make their navigation more difficult.
Point #4: It was Jesus who saw that other boats were joining their journey, and He didn’t do anything to discourage any of the boats from becoming part of their traveling band.
The reason these four points are so vital is that when the trip didn’t go as planned, Jesus got the blame for the entire debacle. And sadly, this often happens in our own lives when we believe we are following Jesus and doing His will, only to succumb to some uninvited and unexpected upheaval that throws everything out of whack.
Pastor Charles Spurgeon uncovers a very critical lesson which provides you and me with a greater understanding of Jesus’ behavior on this nighttime jaunt. As he explains:
“Our Lord took His disciples with Him into the ship to teach them a practical lesson. It is one thing to talk to people about our oneness with them, and about how they should exercise faith in time of danger, and about their real safety in apparent peril; but it is another, and a far better thing, to go into the ship with them.”
It is critical that we recognize that in our own lives, when given a task by Jesus, we are not left alone to battle all the challenges which arise. Way too often we think we have to take care of every eventuality all by ourselves. And what happens? We become so overburdened that we fail at every turn, thinking that no one will help us. We may even believe Jesus won’t turn His hand to deliver us. I love the words of author and pastor George MacDonald who reminds us that when we “step into the darkness,” we should immediately, “reach out for the hand of God.” He then goes on to state that “the path of faith and darkness are so much safer than the one we would choose by our own sight…this is a sane, wholesome, practical working faith. It is (our) business to do the will of God; second, God Himself takes on (our) care; and third, that (we) ought never to be afraid of anything.”
Out into the night, Jesus and His disciples, along with those who had spent the day listening to Him, began a journey into the darkness that covered the Sea of Galilee. May we never forget, Jesus was always with them. He never left them to make the trip alone. And He will never leave us alone, either.
“God is (my) keeper. He has kept (me) hitherto.(I will) hold fast to His dear hand, and He will lead (me) safely through all things; and, when (I) cannot stand, He will bear (me) in His arms. I will not look forward to what may happen tomorrow. My Father will either shield me from suffering, or He will give me strength to bear it.”
Francis of Sales
All the Way My Savior Leads Me
“All the way my Savior leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide.
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whatever befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me;
Cheers each winding path I tread,
Gives me grace for every trial,
Feeds me with the living bread.
Though my weary steps may falter,
And my soul athirst may be,
Gushing from the Rock before me,
Lo! A spring of joy I see.”
This particular hymn was written in 1874 by Fanny Crosby author of over 8,000 hymns. At the age of 6 weeks she suffered a gross medical error by a physician which caused Fanny to become permanently blind. As she expressed later in her life, “If I could meet (the doctor), I would tell him that he unwittingly did me the greatest favor in the world.” The hymn, “All the Way” was specially written in response to a challenge Fanny had when she didn’t have the funds to pay her rent. She took her problem to Jesus in prayer and not long after, a stranger arrived at her door with a $10 bill, just the exact amount she was short. From this experience come the beautiful words, “Jesus Lead Me All the Way.”
Music by the Mennonite Hour Singers
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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