“Hand of God” Painting by artist Young Sung Kim
Passage: Matthew 14:22-34
“Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?” v.31
It was the miracles of miracles.
The first mass miracle took place in Decapolis, where between ten to fifteen thousand people were fed with two fish and five loaves of bread.
I can only imagine the excitement, as the multitudes watched the fish and bread multiply before their eyes. Yahweh Jireh, their Provider, fed the hungry in an unprecedented display of His glorious provision to the masses.
The disciples’ hearts must have overflowed with joy… and Pride.
After all, they were His selected men. The ones who were chosen to walk alongside the Christ.
As we read the text, it’s interesting to realize that, instead of allowing them to remain with the crowd a little longer, Jesus immediately “made” His disciples get into the boat, cross the sea and go to the other side ahead of Him, while He dismissed the crowd (v. 22). I believe Jesus knew their hearts were swelling with pride for being part of Messiah’s inner circle. They needed to withdraw, get away from the accolades of men and the material substance of the miracle, regroup, and realize that He had come to give them much more than just daily bread.
He knew their faith needed more testing and they were about to get it.
Success and popularity have the power to excite us and make us start hoping for great things. The problem is that, though we hardly ever realize it, our hopes for spiritual victories too often include hopes for our own advancement. Therefore, after a season of miracles and supernatural blessings, God often pulls us out of the hype and excitement, and sends us on to the next journey of testing, where we will realize that our faith must grow in the same proportion as our humility and dependence upon God and God alone.
It’s true – We see the bread before our eyes and our faith grows within us. After all, we can touch it, taste it, feel it. The provision and deliverance is real. We can boldly shout to the world: He provides! He heals! He reigns!
But then, just as He did to the disciples, He takes us out of the material and sends us into the sea of the Unknown. In the dark hour, storms rise and our boat tosses about.
Fear rises within us… And we forget.
The eyes which have seen the miracle are suddenly blinded by the darkness around.
The hands which touched Provision become restless.
The tongue which proclaimed the miracle can’t even pray.
We watch the winds and the waves raging at us, and we forget the grand miracle we just witnessed ashore.
In our distress, we see a ‘Ghost’ walking on the water, and we don’t even realize that it is He.
The One who just broke the bread and multiplied the fish… walks towards our situation and we don’t identify Him. The one who heard our heart’s cry… comes to our rescue in the night and we can’t recognize Him past the storm.
Oh, how my heart understands Peter as he realizes it is Jesus who has come to their rescue. How I understand his reason to say, “tell me to come to you on the water!”
He knows Jesus is his safety. He’s eager to believe. He thinks his faith to be strong. He trusts his heart not to wave.
So do we, Peter. So do we.
And yet, as our eyes veer from the Savior’s face and focus on the raging sea, our faith tested once again, we forget the bread and the fish. The storm reveals our weakness…
And we sink.
Oh, Lord, my God, how I truly understand, that it doesn’t matter how many times we’ve watched you act, our feeble hearts so often betray what we know:
That even when You seem to have left us alone, You’re always there…
That all we have to do is call Your name… “LORD! Save me”
And hear You say:
“Take courage! It is I.
Don’t be afraid.
You can walk on water.
You can face the storm.
Because it is My omnipotent hand that calls you out of a life of little faith, to one that watches Me deliver, again and again.
Don’t trust your heart, child.
Just trust My hand.
I’ll pull you out of the icy, stormy waters.
And make them solid ground.
Because wherever I stand… you cannot sink.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” Isaiah 43:2