Right in the Middle!

Matthew 14:
22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, "It is a ghost!"
And they cried out for fear.
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying,
"Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid."
(New King James Bible)

Storms can come odd times. This one came when the disciples were in the middle of the sea.
Middle means somewhere in between.
They started traveling in the evening just before sundown and somewhere around the midnight hour they were now in the middle.
What does that mean?

It means that you have gone too far to turn around because it's just as far going back as it is to go on to the other side.
The Lord allows us to get in the middle of situations, and then he permits a storm to show up in our life.
Now I better tell you that not all storms are sent by God.
Some storms are sent by the devil.
And some storms we bring on ourselves.
In January especially, many of you will be in storms you brought on yourselves from buying stuff you don't need with money you don't have trying to impress folk you don't even like.
We would do better to spend more time sharing instead of shopping in order to avoid getting caught up in financial storms.

The storm came when Jesus wasn't there.
Doesn't it look like trouble seems to come at the wrong time?
Just when you thought you had it all together, suddenly a storm shows up without warning.
There is no chance to prepare; the storm just showed up in the middle of nowhere.

The ship was being tossed violently by the waves.
The storm was rocking their little ship. And storms will rock you!
Storms will have you sitting at your table unable to eat. Storms will have you lying in your bed unable to sleep, rocking you. Storms will have you sitting at a red light that's green, rocking you.
A storm will consume your life.
We need Jesus in our storm.

The fourth watch is about three or four o'clock in the morning.
Can you imagine how hard they been toiling from evening to 3 o'clock. All of these disciples are drenched with water. Their eyes are red and their muscles are sore; fear and panic is all over them. Some say that the darkest hour is just before dawn.

When it comes to getting out of situations, don't give up too soon. You've got to keep on fighting, keep on going forward. It was a trying time in the storm.
In contrast, I see the tranquillity in the storm. The Bible says that Jesus went out to them.
I like that because any time I have been obeying the Lord, and a storm shows up in rmy life, Jesus will show up.

I like that about Jesus. He knows how much you can bear. He does just the opposite of what your friends do. When trouble comes your friends diminish to few.

When trouble showed up, Jesus came walking on the sea.
Now that's the impossible; nobody can walk on water. But Jesus did.
I think Jesus was saying,
"I don't care where you are, I can get to you. You can be in the valley, or in an impossible situation; but wherever you are, you are still in reach of me."

adapted from 365 Days in the Presence of God: Daily Devotions from the Sermons of Dr. Frank Ray, 2004

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ,
thank You so much that You give me as clear instructions for living, as You gave Your disciples that evening.
Thank You that when, in such a situation, a storm comes to try to blow me away,
You show up at the worst possible time, when I think I can't stand it any more,
and You bring Your peace and comfort to me.
You bring me through with Your love and power.
Today I believe You and count on You to bring me through this time in my life, successfully,
and with greater faith in You.
Amen.