“Immediately he spoke to them and said, ‘Take courage! I Am! Don’t be afraid!’ Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down.” ~Mark 6:50-51
Notice that Jesus did not rescue his disciples out of the sea. He gets into the boat with them. He tells them, “I Am God!” Look at me. See this. I am God. I am in control of all these things. Don’t be afraid. I’m right here with you. I’m in charge of everything and you belong to me. I am God. And I’m getting into the boat with you. I’m doing this with you. We’re in this together.
Jesus gives them the strength and courage to continue the journey. They press on, confident that their Lord is with them, that he has dominion over heaven and earth, and that he will carry them through.
It’s like the letters in Revelation. Jesus tells the churches, “I know what you’re going through.” He knows the work and the toil and the endurance of Ephesus. He knows the affliction and poverty of Smyrna, the faithful witness of Pergamum in the middle of Satan’s throne. He knows the patient endurance of Thyatira and the struggle of Philadelphia. He doesn’t relieve them of their struggle. But he promises to be with them. And he promises victory if they’re faithful.
We must keep rowing. The wind is against us and we sometimes get completely blown off course. But we’ve got to continue “straining at the oars.” The power to cross the sea and reach the final shore does not lie with us. That belongs to God — the One who reveals himself to his people most perfectly in his Son, the One who guarantees that victory in his Son’s life, death, and resurrection.