A few months ago, I read a wonderful post on a site called incourage — a website for Christian women that has inspired me on multiple occasions.
This article, Torn Between My Head and My Heart, was one that I felt was a tender mercy from heaven at a time when I needed it.
The author writes:
As I took a walk out by myself last week — praying aloud about being stuck between my head and my heart — I confided. “Jesus, I’m tired trying to figure it out. What should I do?”
Jesus brought me back to a darkened storm 2,000 years ago.
He had sent the disciples ahead of him into the Sea of Galilee.
“Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side… seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them…He came to them, walking on the sea.” Mark 6:45-48
It’s hard to understand why God sends us onto a journey knowing we’d encounter a storm.
I’d never really thought about that aspect of the story before — about how Christ sent them onto the water. He knew the storm would come, but He sent them anyway. Clearly protecting them from the storm was not His purpose. He wanted to teach them about who He is.
What about us? When storms come, do we stop to wonder why it is that God doesn’t take away the storm? I think sometimes it’s too easy to assume that hard times must not be ’caused’ by God. But whether caused or allowed, sometimes God doesn’t remove the pain. But He is there to help us.
But even then, sometimes we have to wait on Him.
I’m reminded of another person’s reflections on this story. In his talk, “Bread or Stones: Understanding the God We Pray To,” S. Michael Wilcox talks about how:
We worship a fourth watch God. So when the trials aren’t over and the blessings don’t come, don’t assume that He is not there, or He is not listening, or He doesn’t care, or you’re not worthy. Always assume you have not yet reached the fourth watch.
The incourage article beautifully reminds us that the Savior got into the boat with the apostles. He calmed the storm, and the apostles were astonished.
But it took a while for Him to come. He watched while they labored against the waves and the wind. And then, in His own way (a miraculous one!) and His own timing (the fourth watch), He came to them.
For those times when storms are raging in your life, remember that we worship a fourth watch God. And keep your eyes open for the miracles that God will work in your life through the Savior, Jesus Christ — in His time, and His way.
Michael Wilcox shares another insight that I have often relied on during hard times.
In Luke, the eleventh chapter, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them about prayer, He introduced it with a parable, and then He said,
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, (meaning being human, imperfect) know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give (good things, give) the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (9-13) ….
All things given from God are good; and, sometimes if what I desire is different from what I need, if what I expect is different from what I’m given, I may, if I’m not careful, turn the given bread into a stone. I may turn the given fish into a serpent. I may view the given egg as a scorpion because it is not what I anticipated, what I asked for, what I hoped for—what I desired.
What we must understand about our Father in Heaven is that He only gives bread; He never gives stones. He only gives fish; He never gives serpents. He only gives eggs; He never gives scorpions.
God does not give stones! This is the God we worship. Our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ love us perfectly. They know our lives perfectly. And They will give us what we need for our growth and salvation.
I encourage you to read both of these articles (and/or listen to Michael Wilcox here or in the video below). I haven’t captured all the insights here, but they are all worth pondering.