It is easy to become overwhelmed by SO many things in our lives. From personal situations to global unrest. From sickness to politics. From stress to natural disasters. Where do we have our eyes, our minds, and our hearts fixed? When we’re focused on Jesus, the bad stuff doesn’t affect us in the same way, because He, being with us ALWAYS, gives us that perfect peace, the peace that transcends all understanding, peace that only He can give. Where is our focus?
Think about the time that the disciples were with Jesus and he fed 5,000 men (women & children weren’t included in the count, but were definitely there, so the total of people fed that day could be 30,000 or more) with just five small loaves of bread and two fish from one kid’s lunch. The disciples were involved in that miracle because, after Jesus thanked the Father in Heaven for the food, He broke and divided it, and had the disciples hand it out. When all was said and done, and everyone was full (and probably burping), there were 12 baskets FULL of food left over, which Jesus had the disciples collect. That was one full basket of food for each disciple to carry back. They not only got to watch Jesus perform the miracle, they also were involved in doing it by handing the food out, then they got a bonus of each one of them carrying a large basket full of leftovers when all was said and done.
After everyone was done eating, Jesus told His disciples that He was going to spend some time alone with our Father in Heaven, and that they should go on ahead and cross the lake in their boat, and that He would meet them on the other side.
Now, at least half of His 12 disciples were fishermen, and they were ALL aware of the dangers of being in a boat on the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias), especially during foul weather. As the disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee in their little boat, a storm arose – a nasty storm. As the storm got worse, and the wind and the waves were “contrary” to their safety, the disciples started to panic. They knew that at any moment their little boat could break up in the storm, and they’d all be dead. Suddenly Jesus appeared to them in the distance, walking on the water, on the stormy waves. They were all starting to freak out, thinking that He was a ghost or something. Imagine their panic! These dudes were just involved in a major miracle not eight hours earlier, and now their focus is completely in the opposite place, not on Who Jesus Is, but on their situation. He was right there, yet they were seeing Him as a menace, instead of their Salvation. They were deceived because they lost focus on Who Jesus Is, and their own authority in Him.
Well, in the middle of the disciples’ panic in that boat during the storm, Peter, in all of his zeal and passion, thought that he recognized this “scary ghost” walking on the water to be Jesus, so he called out to Him, “Master, if it’s You, tell me to come to You!” I’m pretty sure that, right about then, the disciples were probably saying, “Pete! Shut up! What’s WRONG with you?!!? You’re freakin’ talking to a ghost walking to us on the water! We’re all toast for sure, you idiot! Shut up!” Peter obviously was having none of their nonsense and called out to Jesus again, “Master, if that’s really You, command me to come to You!” Jesus obliged Peter and told him to come on out to Him – to walk on top of the stormy waves and come to Him.
Peter started to step over the edge of the boat to walk to Jesus. Right about then, I imagine, the that other 11 disciples were probably already discussing who gets Peter’s stuff when he drowns (IF they survived). Peter got out of the boat, his eyes fixed firmly on where Jesus was on the water. Peter walked on the water – on the stormy waves toward Jesus.
Now, realize this. Peter couldn’t possibly see Jesus the whole time that he was walking on the water. There were big waves between them. Jesus wasn’t floating in the air above the water. He was walking ON the water, and Peter was walking on that same water toward Jesus. Even though Peter couldn’t see Jesus all of the time while he was walking on the water, he had his eyes fixed on where Jesus was, so that, even when a wave would rise between them, he knew where Jesus was, kept his focus, and continued to walk toward Him.
Eventually, Peter got distracted by the wind and the waves. He lost focus. He looked at what was occasionally between him and Jesus, what he was already walking on top of. When this happened, Peter immediately panicked, and he started to sink. He cried out for help (probably something like, “Master, I’m SO screwed! HELP!!!“), and immediately Jesus was there and pulled him up. Notice how fast that happened – the Bible tells us that Peter only started to sink. Jesus was there in an instant, saved Peter, then put him in the boat and they went to shore.
See, it’s NOT that Jesus isn’t with us. He promised to be with us always – NOT just when we’re focused on Him, or even walking with Him, but always. No matter what, JESUS IS ALWAYS RIGHT THERE WITH YOU. He is not far, far away. He doesn’t need to be summoned from beyond. He’s right here! Right here with you!
It’s not like we have to look really hard to find Him. It’s that we need stop focusing on the problems and focus on the One and Only Solution. It’s not that hard to see someone who is standing with you, unless you’re looking in the other direction. That kind of fits in with the word, “repentance”, too. Repentance doesn’t mean to say, “I’m sorry.” to God. If it did, then hell is full of repentant people. They’re all sorry!
Repentance means to turn and go in the opposite direction, to change one’s focus, to change one’s mind, to change one’s point of view, to do a 180° turn. When we repent, our focus changes, our hearts change, our minds change, and our entire lives change because we have then died with Jesus on the cross, and now He lives in us and through us by His Holy Spirit. (Romans chapter 8, Colossians chapter 3), and we abide (live) in Him (John chapters 14, 15, and 16). When that happens, nothing that is thrown at us from the enemy has any power over us because God in all of His fullness lives in us, and we have His authority to pronounce those things dead. Remember, it’s not us that live, but Jesus that lives in us! How cool is THAT?!?