Mark 6:47–52 (ESV) — 47 And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48 And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50 for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” 51 And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52 for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.
How our Christ accommodates our weaknesses and infirmities. While in this case, He would have gone before them, leading the way to shore and safety – their fear and stress catches His heart. So rather than simply leading them on, He stops, enters the boat with them AND speaks a word of comfort to them. Then, as if all of that is not enough, He also stills the storm. How much He knows our pitiful state. How willingly He stoops to help us. One would have thought this an occasion for rebuke at their lack of faith. Hadn’t He stilled the storm before? But not so our Savior. Tenderly, willingly, accommodatingly, He shifts to meet the exigent circumstances they faced. How wonderful He is!
Note how they misapprehended Him and thought Him simply an apparition. I do this all the time. I fail to recognize Him in the midst of my storm. But He is there whether I perceive Him rightly or not. He never fails to be right in the very center of my deepest cares, concerns and woes. Especially those so outside of my own control .
What are we to think of the statement that “He meant to pass by them”? Our trial is not the end of God’s dealings, but merely one place along the path of His plan. We make them (and their relief) the end point. He does not. He is on His way toward His eternal goals, and our trials and difficulties are not out of His way – but directly in His path. They are neither incidental, nor the whole story. He meets us there, where we least expect Him, but He does not intend to stay there, nor did He alter His course in the process. Our woes coincide with His path, and His path leads beyond our woes. May we always keep the two of those things in view.