“The boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid’” (Matthew 14: 23-25).

Not till the final watch of the night does Jesus come, when the disciples have struggled long and hard and the boat is out in the very middle of the lake and the storm is fiercest. We may learn from this the delays of His love. Because He loved Mary and Martha and Lazarus. He stayed still in inaction for two days after their message. Because He loved Peter and the praying church, He let Peter lie in prison till the last hour of the last watch of the last night before his intended execution and then delivered him with a leisureliness that tells of conscious omnipotence.

Heaven’s clock goes at a different rate from our little timepieces. God’s day is a thousand years, and the longest delay is but a little while. When He has come, we find that it is at the right time, though before He came He seemed to us to delay. He comes across the waves. The restless and yielding crests are smoothed and made solid by the touch of His foot. “He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8). It is a revelation of divine power and in some sense, prophetic. But it is also symbolic. He uses tumults and unrest as a means of advancing His purposes.

In another aspect, Christ uses our difficulties and trials as the means of His loving approach to us. He comes, giving a deeper and more blessed sense of His presence by means of our sorrows than in calm, sunny weather. It is generally over a stormy sea that He comes to us and golden treasures are thrown in our shores after a tempest.

Adapted from In His Presence