Never alone

Right then, Jesus made his disciples get into a boat and go ahead to the other side of the lake, toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying good- bye to them, Jesus went up onto a mountain to pray. Evening came and the boat was in the middle of the lake, but he was alone on the land. He saw his disciples struggling. They were trying to row forward, but the wind was blowing against them. Very early in the morning, he came to them, walking on the lake. He intended to pass by them. When they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost and they screamed. Seeing him was terrifying to all of them. Just then he spoke to them, “Be encouraged! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” He got into the boat, and the wind settled down. His disciples were so baffled they were beside themselves. That’s because they hadn’t understood about the loaves. Their hearts had been changed so that they resisted God’s ways. ~Mark 6:45-52 (CEB)

“There are those times in our lives when nothing seems to go as we planned. Times when day after day we are faced with difficulties and darkness no matter how much we long for lighter loads and light for our pathway. There are other times when we come from a spectacular high moment and suddenly find ourselves handing on to hope by our fingernails. While such a situation can be distressing, it is good to remember that we are not the first to experience darkness, difficulty, or disappointing surprises in the midst of faithful and sunny days.

Chapter 6 in Mark’s Gospel reports the rejection Jesus encountered in his hometown, the first missionary venture of the twelve, the death of John the Baptist, feeding the five thousand, Jesus’ walking on the water, and the healing in Gennesaret. In this one chapter we are confronted with the widest range of human emotion and experience, great miracles as well as great disappointment.

Our lives may be a bit steadier and the peaks and valleys a little more subdued than what Jesus and the twelve experienced. However, we do live through those periods when nothing seems to go our way, when the winds of life seem to be against us, when we are working hard but getting nowhere. So it was with the disciples as they strained at the oars against an adverse wind. Then Jesus appeared to them and uttered the words we all want to hear in the terror of our own personal storm: ‘Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid’. The storm was over the moment Jesus was recognized by the disciples, and soon the men found themselves at their destination.

One of the best times for us to cultivate the nearness of God emerges when nothing is going our way. Such an experience may sharpen our ability to see God at work in our midst and in our lives. Remember that we are not alone when things are not going our way, as we are not alone when things are going our way. Each situation gives us opportunity to pay attention to God’s presence and call for God’s help. ~From A Guide to Prayer For All Who Seek God, Rueben P. Job

Almighty God, in Whom I find life, health, and strength, and through Whose mercy  I am clothed and fed, grant unto me a thankful and faithful heart. In the name and spirit of Christ. Amen.

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