Apr 30 8:11 AM
Apr 30 8:11 AM
Apr 30 8:11 AM
Friday, April 30, 2021
Today, I want to talk to you about problems. That's a real fun topic! But life is full of problems, right? Pastor Vince says this all the time. He says, "You're either right now in the middle of a problem, or you've just come out of a problem, or you are just about to enter into a problem." It's cyclical. Problems in life, they come like waves. And it's a normal part of life. The question is, how will you handle those difficult times, not if they come, but how will you handle those difficult times when they come? Because they will come.
As I said, it's like a cycle, they come in waves. And we see Jesus illustrating this for us when he invites Peter to walk with him on the water of the Sea of Galilee. Just a little background, Jesus had just performed this incredible miracle, the feeding of the 5000, as it's called, with just five loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus dismisses the disciples. He tells them after this speaking engagement to go in the boat and cross the sea of Galilee. He tells them he will meet them there on the other side. So, Jesus stays behind, goes up on a mountain, and he wants to be by himself so he can pray to his father. Then, in order to to meet up with the disciples, Jesus begins to walk across the Sea of Galilee. So again, the disciples went ahead of him, Jesus needs to catch up. And here it is, he's walking on water. The passage tells us that the water was kind of rough. In fact, it says the wind was strong, and the waves were buffeting against the boat. So, you can imagine how freaked out the disciples were, since the waters were a bit rough, and all of a sudden there's a person walking on the water towards the boat. We see in Matthew 14:27-29 Jesus says to them in that moment, '"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
"Lord, if it is you," Peter replied, "tell me to come out to you on the water."
"Come," Jesus said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came towards Jesus.'
So Jesus knows that life is full of problems, and that they're like the waves of the sea that come one after the other. But they can be spaced out by the tides, as well. So he invited Peter in the middle of this storm to step out of the boat, to put his faith and trust in Jesus, and walk on the water to do the impossible. But, Jesus says this to him, "Take courage. Don't be afraid." I don't know what impossible problem you're facing right now, but Jesus wants you to take your courage. He wants you to not be afraid. He wants you to come out onto those waves and walk with him. He wants to take your hand, and he wants to walk with you through your problems. He doesn't want to lift you out of your problems, but he wants to walk with you through your problems, because we need to learn and trust in Jesus.
So back to Peter in verses 30-31. 'But when he saw the wind -' now, stop right there. I don't know how you see wind, but that must have been some crazy wind that night. 'But when he, Peter, saw the wind, he was afraid and began to sink. And he cried out, "Lord, save me!" Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. He said, "You of little faith, why do you doubt?"' So the question that we have to ask is, why did Peter begin to sink? It's because he took his eyes off of Jesus, and he put them on the wind and the waves. He put his eyes on the problems that he was going through. The same thing happens to us. When we go through problems, we step out of the boat. We begin strong. We begin to let Jesus walk us through our problems, but then we take our eyes off of Jesus and we focus on the problems again. The whole time, Jesus is saying, "Take courage! Don't be afraid." But, we keep looking at the waves. We keep getting into fear, and we begin to sink. Then, Jesus shows us how much he loves us. He reaches out his hand, and he pulls us up. He says the words to Peter that no Christian wants to hear. He says, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?" No Christian wants to hear that. But the truth is, so many of us go through life's problems, and we tend to focus on the problems instead of focusing on Jesus. So let's learn from Peter. Let's grow in our faith and keep our eyes on Jesus. When we're tempted to focus on the problem, to take control of the problem, to doubt and not believe, to dismiss the fact that there's a lesson in this problem for me to learn, let's turn our focus back to Jesus, allowing him to lead us through the problem.
Let's go back to the first thing as we wrap up. Back to what Jesus said to the disciples as he was approaching the boat. He said, "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Someone watching this needs to write that down right now. "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Remind yourself daily to take your courage, the courage that Jesus gives to you to keep your eyes on Jesus throughout the problem, and to not be afraid. Fear is the opposite of faith. Where there is fear, there's a lack of faith. Jesus will see you through your problems. I hope you find that encouraging. I hope that brings a lift to your week. And I want to encourage you to do one final thing. Don't just have a great day. Go and make a great day.