Let Jesus Climb Into Your Boat… Hello Hump Day readers. Al and I have left Arizona for six months and back up here at the campground in northern New Mexico. We’ll be opening on April 15, so we have lots to do to get ready for our campers plus training a new couple for camp-hosting. We love our job. As we came down the road into the campground, Abiquiu Lake was there, sparkling at us with her beautiful blue waters and mountain surroundings. Ah, we’re home—well, for six months. But it didn’t take long to get a messy lake with rain, some snow and sleet, and wind. There were a few fishermen out on the lake and one of them had a heck of a time getting back to shore but they managed it well.

This leads me to Jesus and boats! For those fishermen, a quick change of weather had things getting messy really fast. Doesn’t that happen to us in life more often than we’d like? And when that messy stuff hangs on too long we shout, “Jesus, where are you” I need you!”

Jesus has not gone missing, my friends, he is right there with you, just like he was with the disciples a long time ago. We find their situation in Mark 6:45-51[NLT]. Jesus had just miraculously fed close to 10,000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread. A miracle indeed! Here’s what happened next:

“Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Late that night, the disciples were in their boat in the middle of the lake, and Jesus was alone on land. He saw that they were in serious trouble, rowing hard and struggling against the wind and waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. He intended to go past them, but when they saw him walking on the water, they cried out in terror, thinking he was a ghost. They were all terrified when they saw him. But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage! I am here!” Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped. They were totally amazed, for they still didn’t understand the significance of the miracle of the loaves. Their hearts were too hard to take it in.”

The Greek word basanizo, (βασανίζω ) is found in 12 occurrences in the New Testament. It means some sort of assault, difficulty, terror and suffering upon a person or, in this Scripture, even upon an object such as a boat! Mark used this word to clearly let us know their turmoil and fear in that storm. Waves exploded around them. They could no longer brace themselves or steady that boat. The storm rendered them helpless and filled with fear of dying.

Both Al and I know storms on the water. We grew up in resorts and bad weather could be deadly for those on a lake. Just this last year in one of my devotions called ‘5 Minutes to Death’ Al and one of our Rangers were getting a couple off the lake at 11pm at night in high winds and darkness. The couple was terrified and so were Al and the Ranger! When Al got back and told the full story, I was so amazed everyone was OK. I knew it was going to be rough so I was in prayer until he walked in the door. And Al told me he prayed throughout the whole ordeal, too. That’s a lot of prayers and Jesus always answers them, Hallelujah!

The ‘storms of life’ can either batter us up into a ball of fear, or have us reaching out to God. It is in those times where we can lose sight of hope, Jesus never loses sight of us. Remember what Jesus was doing on the mountainside while the disciples were in the boat? He was praying! He knew what was coming for them, just as he knows what storms batter us. Like the disciples, sometimes we get amazed how the storm ends and we come out OK on the other side—a reminder that Jesus didn’t criticize their fears—he got in the boat with them!

Jesus is not running from us when we are fearful. Jesus is running to us, over and over again. And yes, if he has to, he will climb in that boat with you! And that is when the power of Jesus’ presence gives you the peace you need. So, my friends, I don’t know what hurts and heartbreaks you are going through today, but I do know the One who does know and will see you through it from fear to peace. Our Jesus is always near—always! AMEN.