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SURPRISED BY OBEDIENCE

Have you ever been surprised by how life turned out for you despite being obedient to the Lord? Obedience to the Lord does not always mean all will be well with your soul. If you haven’t discovered it or are surprised by this truth, wait. It will be made clear!


In Matthew 14:22–33, we read about an incident that happened to the disciples of Jesus as they were on a boat going to the other side of Lake Galilee in obedience to Jesus’ command. The context of this passage is Jesus’ twenty-two months of ministry in Galilee between A. D. 27 and 29. Earlier, Jesus had fed 5,000 men, not including women and children, with five loaves of bread and two fish. Immediately after that, Jesus told His disciples to go to the other side of the lake in their fishing boat. Jesus then retired to a solitary place to pray and commune with His Father. In obedience to their Master, the disciples rowed their fishing boat to the other side of the lake. But before long, a strong wind had risen. And their little boat was in danger of capsizing due to the heavy waves. Indeed, they must have been astonished by what was happening to them on their mission for Christ.


Let us not be surprised by the troubles we face when we obey Christ and pursue His mission. The apostle Paul warned Timothy that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus would suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). The Bible says don’t be surprised or think it strange when facing fiery trials in the course of serving Christ (1 Peter 4:12).


So, what should be our attitude when we are in the midst of a storm? From our narrative, we learn three encouraging truths that should give us confidence when we go through the storms of life. First, we should be confident that we can receive God’s consolation when facing life’s trials. As the disciples struggled to keep the boat afloat around three o’clock in the morning, they saw a silhouette of a person walking on water. Jesus was coming toward them, but they thought it was a ghost and were afraid. But Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Take courage. I am here.” In Greek, it simply says, “I am.” Jesus consoled them by identifying Himself as the Great I am or Yahweh.


Friend, if you are in the midst of a storm right now, and everything around you looks bleak and hopeless, take comfort that God in Christ is right there with you in your trial. He is the fourth Man walking with you in your fiery furnace. You may ask, where is God when I am hurting? God’s answer, take courage. I am here with you.


Second, we should be confident that we can receive God’s salvation when facing life’s trials. Peter, that tempestuous and quick-to-act fellow wanted to walk on water and go to Jesus. Jesus said, “Come, Peter.” Peter stepped into the water and started walking toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. The only thing he could do, and the best he could do, was to cry out to Jesus, saying, “Save me, Lord.” Jesus immediately reached out to Peter and saved him. Notice Peter’s prayer was just three words: Save me, Lord. And the result was astounding.


Friend, if you are in a crisis, all you need to do is to ask the Lord as a child would ask their father. No need to make long, impressive, and eloquent prayers. Just ask. God will deliver you if, in doing so, He is glorified. God could also give you the strength to bear your trial if that would bring glory to Him. The apostle Paul understood this truth through the “thorn in the flesh” he had to endure. Our attitude ought to be that of the three Hebrew men in the book of Daniel, who said to Nebuchadnezzar, “If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, He can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods” (Dan. 3:17–18 ERV).


Finally, from this narrative, we learn that we should be confident that we can receive God’s revelation when facing life’s trials. Jesus grabbed Peter and rebuked him gently: “You have so little faith. Why did you doubt Me?” When the wind ceased, and the disciples were safe in the boat, they worshipped Jesus, exclaiming, “You really are the Son of God!” The disciples received a fresh revelation of who Jesus was—Immanuel, God with us, prophesied by Isaiah 700 years earlier. Every trial we go through as believers is an opportunity to experientially affirm and gain clarity on biblical truths regarding God’s nature, character, and work. So don’t despise the suffering you may be going through presently. The moment will come when you bow down and sing, “Lord, you are here working in this place. I worship you. You are the way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, and light in the darkness, my God. That is who you are.”


It is said that before you can color a piece of glass, it must be subject to intense heat. Even if you break the glass, you cannot eliminate the color. God’s truths need to be burned into us for lasting effect. And God will sometimes put us through a furnace of affliction for that purpose.


I pray the Lord will bless you with His consolation, salvation, and revelation in the present trial you may be going through. God bless you.

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