Captains Courageous

Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™  I AM Ministries

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Normal I AM

Monday, November 9, 2015

Captains Courageous

Shortly after Jesus had finished giving His Sermon on the Mount, He led the crowd and His disciples to the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 8:18). His plan was to visit the Gaderenes (tribe of Gad), where He would drive demons from possessed men (Matthew 8:28-32). Jesus had two routes to choose from to reach His destination, by land or by sea. Either way was suitable, but the sea route was part of His plan.

Jesus boarded the boat as a signal for the disciples to follow (Matthew 8:23). This craft was not a fancy yacht or pleasure boat, one we would consider fit for our King. It was just a humble fishing boat, the kind His own disciples had employed before they became fishers of men. Once again, Jesus did not seek to exalt Himself by acquiring fancy accommodations, either here at Galilee or at any point in His Earthly visit.

His disciples followed Him without hesitation. They were more than familiar with this mode of transportation and were willing to put out to sea with their Master. Whereas others who remained on shore dreaded the lack of firm footing on the terra firma, the disciples kept close to their Master and felt safe under His care. They must have reasoned, “Where else could we be safer than under the shadow of our Master’s wings?” Little did they know Christ’s plans for a perilous and perplexing voyage.

Jesus had just finished explaining that those who follow Him must count on difficulties (Matthew 8:19-22), as He often did (John 15:18-25, John 16:33). Suddenly, out of nowhere, a great storm arose. Jesus could have prevented this storm, as such power is His. Preventing the storm would have allowed the Captain and crew a safe an uneventful passage. Instead, He allowed the gale, perhaps even created it intentionally, so He could confirm the faith of the disciples and to demonstrate His power and glory.

It is easy to slip into the expectation that when Christ is with you, all will go well. He has all power in Heaven and on Earth; thus, we assume, as the disciples did, that He will provide us with a smooth ride at all times. But just as fire refines gold and silver and the inferno of the kiln tempers clay into a sturdy, usable pot, so do the storms of our lives strengthen us to be better servants of Christ. Jesus uses this story to show us that we must expect storms in our lives.

One of the most interesting aspects of this story is that, as the storm raged around them, tossing the frail boat violently, Jesus was sound asleep. Nowhere else in the Bible do we read of Jesus actually sleeping. Jesus was known to keep watch all night or to pray from dusk to dawn, but we only read here of Him sleeping. Ironically, it is only amidst the violent fury of the gale, with wind, water, and waves lashing at the boat, that Matthew records Jesus in a peaceful state of slumber. Was this the sign of a courageous captain or the indication He had gone off the deep end? The disciples concluded the latter, crying out, LORD, save us! We are going to drown.” (Matthew 8:25).

We know differently, however. The One who can lay His head upon the pillow of a clear conscience may sleep quietly and peacefully in a storm. Jesus, in His Holy serenity and dependence on the Father, found sleep a normal act. Those around Him, who were not is such a close relationship with the Father, were panicked that they would perish. It was only their courageous Captain who displayed the faith that God wishes from us.

By our very existence, each of us has been put to sea to navigate the waters of our lives. It is a comfort to know that those who go to sea in ships are often in peril there, but we all have a Captain who is more courageous and powerful than any of us. Our Captain knows what it is like to be at sea and to endure trials, storms, and unruly waters that seem to threaten our existence. Yet there is no more solid a Rock upon which we can stand.

We are all called to be captains courageous. We do so by putting our faith in Him, even when the storms of our lives rage around us. It is normal to rely on Him at all times, both good and bad. Jesus shows us it is better to be in the midst of a storm and have Him by our side than to be adrift in the cesspool of sin without His grace, for this is where we truly perish.

In His love and service,

Jeff Myers
A servant of Jesus Christ

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