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Unpredictable Lifestyle

Luke 8:22-23
One day Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. (NIVUK)

Live with Jesus, and anything might happen!  The disciples had heard amazing teaching and witnessed astonishing miracles from Jesus.  But, until now, they had not been in any personal peril.  As trainee apostles they needed to learn the lesson that they would be safe in the greatest peril if they trusted Jesus.  So, their Master intentionally led them into a crisis of personal survival to train them how to face danger.

Jesus knew all that would happen, and He slept as they sailed across the lake.  He was not at all worried because He always has the power to deal with whatever will happen (John 13:3).  His slumber did not indicate weakness, indifference, inattention or apathy.  He slept because He needed the disciples to feel alone in the predicament and when they sought His help, He would teach them an unforgettable lesson about faith.  

Then the wind increased, threatening to overpower the sail - which would have been reefed.  The waves also increased; the boat was in real danger of sinking.  The disciples, some of whom were experienced fishermen, could see no way out of the problem.  And Jesus was still asleep.  It was a real test of their faith, for certainly the presence of the Son of God has not prevented nor resolved the problem.  In years to come they would encounter many different sorts of life-threatening circumstances.  Then, they would remember the helplessness and the unnecessary terror they felt before Jesus intervened, so that they would learn to put their faith in Jesus.

The Christian life is not easy.  God never said it would be and Jesus often warned of hardship and persecution (John 16:33).  Some people wrongly think that conversion will remove every difficulty; but as with the disciples, Jesus will not always stop the problems coming.  However, He will always be there. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, "No temptation (testing) has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted (tested) beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." How often we forget this and become fearful!  We fail to see that each difficulty is a training exercise teaching us to trust Him more next time!  Do not forget, if we belong to Jesus, He is committed to growing us in relationship with Him.  He will allow circumstances to overwhelm our resources so that we can learn to trust in Him.  As we do so, He brings everything together for our blessing and His glory (Romans 8:28).

Almighty God. Thank You for Your love and care, and the confidence I have as I trust in Jesus. Although I would like all the problems to go away, thank You for trusting me with a series of training exercises which are designed to build up my faith. Please forgive me when I complain about difficulties, instead of looking to You and trusting that You will know how to deal with them; because I know that Your power is so great and You are always willing to work with me. May my colleagues at work see what real faith is like, as I face the challenges which You allow to come into my life. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams