I heard a pastor say recently, “Chaos is never the evidence of God’s absence; it’s the arena in which He moves.”
Maybe you’re feeling as though you’re in the midst of chaos right now, and you’re saying, “God is gone.”
No, God isn’t gone. This is the arena in which He moves.
We all experience fear, anxiety, and worry. No one is exempt. Even Jesus’ disciples went through it. In fact, Matthew’s Gospel tells us about a time when the disciples were filled with fear, even terror.
Chapter 14 says, “Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake, while he sent the people home. After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves” (verses 22–24 NLT).
Mark’s Gospel adds this detail: “He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water” (6:48 NLT).
The disciples were terrified and thought it was a ghost. Why didn’t they know it was Jesus? Because they weren’t looking for Him. A lot of times we miss Jesus, but it isn’t because He’s absent. Rather, it’s because we’re not looking for Him.
Sometimes in storms, however, we’ll become more aware of His presence. Job put it this way: “I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes” (Job 42:5 NLT).
In other words, “I’ve heard about how God answers prayers, but now I see it. I’ve heard how God is close to people when they’re facing hardship, but now I’ve personally experienced it.”
You can experience that as well.
Jesus is with us in our storms, and He’s watching us in our storms. But He isn’t watching impassively; He’s watching with great interest and concern.
Although the disciples lost sight of Jesus, He never lost sight of them. And He came to them in their storm, walking on the water. Jesus, being God, certainly could have flown in and met them on the water.
But Jesus walked among us as a man. He walked in our shoes. He ate food like we ate, He slept like we sleep, and He felt human pain like we feel. He lived our life, and He died our death.
So Jesus came to the disciples on the waves to show them that the thing they feared was merely a staircase for Him. He told them, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here!” (Matthew 14:27 NLT).
Then Matthew tells us, “Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’
“‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said.
“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted” (verses 28–30 NLT).
Now, let’s give credit where credit is due. Peter was walking on the water. No one else volunteered to do it except Peter. But then what happened? Notice verse 30: “When he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink.”
Sometimes we’re doing well, but then we look at the wind and the waves in our lives, and we begin to sink. We turn on the news and hear the latest report or rumor, and it causes us to panic.
Peter sank because he was afraid. He took his eyes off Jesus. And when fear reigns, faith is driven away. Fear and faith don’t hang out together. So when we forget God’s promises to us, we’ll sink.
We have a choice: we can be afraid, which is easy, or we can be courageous.
When our oldest son, Christopher, was killed in an automobile accident at the age of 33, our entire lives changed overnight. It was devastating. I couldn’t escape the pain. No matter where I went, it was there with me.
What gets me through is Jesus. It’s listening to Him speak to me through the Word of God, the Bible.
He will get you through your storm too. You’re not alone in it. Jesus is there for you, and He cares about you.
And if we start to panic in the storm, Jesus would effectively say to us, “Look at Me. Don’t look at the wind. Don’t look at the circumstances. Look at Me.”
When Peter began to sink, he called out to Jesus. And if ever I’ve seen a wake-up call for America, I think we’re seeing it right now.
Christians, it’s time to pray. I’m not talking about laid-back, casual prayer. I’m talking about fervent, storm-the-gates-of-Heaven prayer that calls out to God in desperation and urgency. We need God in America, and we need God to intervene.
God said, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3 NKJV). So let’s call on the Lord.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
This article was originally published at WND.com.