In the Fourth Watch
In the Gospels we find a story about Jesus sending His disciples across the Sea of Galilee. As they went on their way, they hit a huge storm that was so severe, they thought they would drown.
Meanwhile, Jesus had gone up on a mountain to spend some time in prayer. No doubt He could see His disciples, but they couldn’t see Him. And they were thinking it was all over.
Then we read that "in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea" (Matthew 14:25). Why did Jesus go to them in the fourth watch? Why didn’t He come right away, when the storm got bad? Or why didn’t He at least go out to them during the second or third watch? Yet Jesus went to them in the fourth watch—at the very end, effectively—after they had been battling the waves for up to nine hours.
Why do you think Jesus waited so long? I think He wanted them to exhaust their resources and realize there was no way out but through Him. And sometimes life goes that way. Something traumatic happens. Something that seems unbearable happens. We say, "How am I going to get through this? If God doesn’t come through for me, I am dead in the water."
Actually, that is not such a bad place to be. As a friend of mine named Alan Redpath used to say that when we get to the end of ourselves, we get to the beginning of God.
Have you come to the end of yourself? Maybe, like the disciples, you’re experiencing an epic storm. Maybe you’re facing a crisis or a hardship. And maybe you’re thinking you won’t get through it. I have good news for you: Jesus always shows up.