Summary: Life's difficulties are often disguised opportunities.
Long days of chill had passed when many parts of the world were filled with raucous cheering and strident reveling to celebrate, once again, the best yet conclusive events of the past year – Christmas and New Year. A plethora of jolly greetings filled the air – at homes, marketplaces, parks, street corners, walkways…. everywhere. It all jubilantly culminated to the two festive nights (with only one week apart) of celebrations – Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Those two nights were stuffed with fun, foods and fellowships at so much excess. Name it… it’s literally more than enough. Felt like heaven on earth, even just for two days, a week apart. But then, after a week or two, we’re back to face life’s reality – more often than not, hard realities. The lights of past celebrations have dimmed; its warmth has chilled, it seems.
The elated disciples of Jesus went through the same atmosphere. It was only on the early evening before when they saw with their own eyes, tasted with their own tongue, got stuffed in their own belly, a grand picnic only God can prepare. They even had an awesome experience of collecting a bulk of leftovers, far exceeding the five loaves of bread and two fish that Jesus miraculously multiplied in a spectacular manner to feed a throng of 5,000 men, plus women and children. They must have exclaimed, “Life with Jesus is really cooool!”
Good times don’t last a lifetime. If you are a Christian believer reading this succinct article and you feel that you are among the regretful ones musing over the warmth of success in the yesteryears, but recently have had your world turned upside down… I want you to read through… thoughtfully and prayerfully. In the recent past, friends were many, finances were healthy, and fellowship was lively. And now, everything that is relentlessly happening around you is literally the contrast. You may be remorsefully assuming that you made a big mistake, and what you are currently going through is an exacting reprisal. Maybe you did, but God never made a mistake. My friend, don’t regret, don’t fret, and don’t you ever quit. You are simply facing the hard realities of life – so to speak! There’s no telling when it will be over.
The passage that we read in our text portrays a totally opposite scenario. The grand picnic is over. The twelve were facing the hard realities of their life – straining at the oars; against an opposing strong wind. In times that we are at head-on collision with the hard realities of life, our text passage provides us with Biblical truths that would keep us going, and going really strong.
1. First…… Jesus is Watching Over us!
Mark 6:48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them….
How often that we feel sad, despondent and alone. Sometimes even our acts of obedience would bring us to a pointblank where we don’t feel the Lord’s presence. That doesn’t change the scriptural truth that His eyes are upon the sparrow. In the same way, His eyes are upon us, too. Jesus sees our every move.
a. Every time we Take a Step in Life.
Life has its own Plans and Purposes. Planning one’s life and future is not bad at all. Actually, I strongly recommend that we all do. Knowing that the all-wise Lord knows our motives and sees our initiatives should make us feel safe and secure in planning our future and setting our goals. Prov. 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”
b. Each time we Face a Struggle in Life.
Life has its own Problems and Pains. What make life much more challenging are not our mountaintop experiences – during moments that we feel we are on top-of-the-world. Surprisingly enough, most of the ostensibly rocket-ride life encounters are masked indicators of a looming downfall. It’s our draining experiences and situations down-in-the-valley that pose greater challenges. But take note, it is in the flat-dark-and-cold valley that crops are produced. Fruitfulness is best manifest in the valley, though darkened under the shadow of nearby towering mountains early in the morning and late in the afternoon.
Coaching is a challenging task. Many times a game is won, not because of the efforts of skillful athletes but by the wise game plans of the coach. A good coach knows the strength and weakness of his team. In the same way, he also knows the strength and weakness of their opponents. To achieve that knowledge, a coach would need to spend hours and long hours familiarizing with the skills of his team members, as well as the skills of the opposing team. And on that knowledge he draws his game plans.