We have a new little love in our lives. His name is Joshua David, and his entrance into our family has ushered my husband and me into the incredible world of . . . grandparents! I promise not to share all the ways this little man has already endeared himself to his Grammy, but since our staff Revival Week, I’ve been thinking a lot about one of Joshua’s favorite activities and how it relates to our walk with Jesus.
It began as one of the speakers shared from this passage:
“When it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea and He was alone on the land. And seeing them straining at the oars, for the wind was against them, at about the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them” (Mark 6:47-48).
Had I not been following along in my Bible that morning, I would have thought that last portion had been misread! Jesus intended to pass by those in need? That seems ludicrous. Jesus rescues sinners; He stills raging storms with a word. He would never walk by His own who are struggling and weary . . . would He?
Jesus clearly saw their desperation. He knew they had been exhausted before ever setting sail that night. He’s the One who directed them on this course. He was aware their little vessel was being relentlessly battered by the winds. He was watching as they strained vigorously at the oars to stay afloat. And yet He waited. And prayed.
Finally, He could wait no longer. Compassion compelled the Savior to move toward those who were struggling. Yet, even as He walked on the wind-tossed waves, He was still waiting. Listening for a cry.
Surely in their desperation they would call for His help! They’d seen first-hand His power as they’d ministered to others. They had watched in astonishment as He fed the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes. Certainly they knew they had only to ask and He would act on their behalf. But they didn’t—they just keep straining at the oars.
I’m realizing how easy it is for us, even in our zeal to please the Lord, to do the same. Here are a few of the places the Lord’s showing me I need to stop straining and lay aside the oars in my life:
- Stop straining to figure out that relational conflict. Cry Out!
- Stop straining to accomplish all I’m asking of you. Cry Out!
- Stop straining to please everyone around you. Cry Out!
- Stop straining in fear of the “what-ifs” in your life. Cry Out!
I want to be like our little grandson, Joshua. Crying out comes naturally for him; he has no other means of getting the help he needs. The Lord is so tenderly reminding me: in reality, neither do I. And neither do you.
Are there areas where you’ve been “straining at the oars” this week? Will you join me in laying aside those oars and crying out to Jesus?
“[They] cried out . . . immediately He spoke with them . . . and He got into the boat with them and the wind stopped; and they were greatly astonished” (Mark 6:50-51).