Real Peace Versus the Easy Life
It is a very instructive vignette in the life of Jesus and his disciples, recorded for us in Mark 6:45–52. Jesus has sent his disciples across the Sea of Galilee to Bethsaida. They have encountered an impossible headwind and angry seas. If you look at the time clues in the larger passage, you can see they have been rowing for about eight hours. They are in a situation that seems impossible, exhausting, frustrating, and potentially dangerous. They are far beyond their strength and ability.
As you read the passage, you have to ask yourself why Jesus would ever want his disciples in this kind of difficulty. It’s clear that they’re not in this mess because they’ve been disobedient, arrogant, or unwise, but because they have obeyed Jesus.
Jesus sees that his disciples are in this exhausting and dangerous situation, and he sets out and begins to walk across the sea. Yes, you read it right: he walks across the sea. Now, the moment he begins to take this walk, you are confronted with two things. The first is the fact that Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord God almighty, because no other human being could do what he is doing.
But there is a second important thing to observe. The minute he begins to take the walk, you know what he has in mind. If all Jesus wants to do is relieve the difficulty, he wouldn’t have to take the walk. All he would need to do is say a prayer from the shore and the wind would cease. He takes the walk because he is not after the difficulty. He is after the men in the middle of the difficulty. He is working to change everything they think about themselves and about their lives.
Standing next to the boat as the wind still blows and the waves still crash, he says: “It is I. Do not be afraid.” He is actually taking one of the names of God. He is saying the “I am” is with them, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the One on whom all the covenant promises rest. It is impossible for them to be alone because their existence has been invaded by the grace and glory of the I am.
Why did Jesus send his disciples into that storm? He did it for the same reason he sometimes sends you into storms—because he knows that sometimes you need the storm in order to be able to see the glory. For the believer, peace is not to be found in ease of life. Real peace is only ever found in the presence, power, and grace of the Savior, the King, the Lamb, the I am. That peace is yours even when the storms of life take you beyond your natural ability, wisdom, and strength.
You can live with hope and courage in the middle of what once would have produced discouragement and fear because you know you are never alone. The I am inhabits all situations, relationships, and locations by his grace. He is in you. He is with you. He is for you. He is your hope.