“It is I; Be Not Afraid”
Another wonderful devotion by Ray Stedman that really touched me… Knowing that in our infirmities the power of Christ rests upon us, knowing that He is in the storms, that He is in control and that we can walk with Him through all our trials and find true joy in them…
The New Resource by Ray Stedman
A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them,It is I; don’t be afraid.(John 6:18-20)
Those are very wonderful words for us, because our Lord is saying these same things for our benefit. This whole incident of the storm and their precarious condition in their boat is designed to teach his disciples the resources they have in their risen Lord. This is why John follows immediately by saying,
they were glad to take him into the boat. Their fear was immediately relieved when they realized it was indeed Jesus who was walking on the water, and he was in control of all events, so they willingly received him into the boat. Immediately there was further demonstration of the power of Jesus, for they were instantly on the other side of the lake, to where they were going. The three or four remaining miles of the journey was suddenly accomplished, and they found themselves at the dock in Capernaum.
I am startled by the number of Christians who do not act upon this truth, but seem to succumb to the pressures and the problems of life and react just like a non-Christian would. They grumble and complain, feeling set upon and put upon. They despair and strike out and strike back; they rely upon worldly schemes to deliver them from difficulties. What is more amazing is how many times I have experienced the joy of Jesus’ presence, freeing me from the circumstances, and yet how many times I go right back and react the same way that others do in times of pressure and danger. Yet, here indeed, is the sign of the New Covenant, the new creation: Jesus with us in the very circumstances we find ourselves; triumphant, in control, Lord of all those circumstances, the new hidden resource for life which is available to believers but which the world knows nothing about.
This leaves us with really only one question: Why don’t we believe this? Why are we so much like Peter, who, even in the midst of experiencing the power of God to walk above his circumstances, loses his faith and begins to sink beneath the waves? You can always tell the man or woman who does learn this secret, who does welcome the Lord into the boat of difficulty, who does hear his Word,
It is I; be not afraid.
When we accept that fact we will find that it reveals itself in our very countenance. People who have discovered this have a quiet peace in their eyes even when things are going wrong. They have a confidence that everything is going to finally work its way out to what God’s intended purpose was. There is not a word of complaint or grumbling. They regard the circumstances as necessary to what God wants to do in their lives—which is always for their own good, for their own ultimate happiness—and they accept them. They are a joy to be around. When you go to encourage them you find they encourage you. Do you know why? It is because they have already taken Jesus into the boat. When people do that, they discover that they have already arrived at the goal toward which the rest of us are still struggling. They are already there; they have found love and joy and peace.
That is why these accounts are here in the Scriptures—to teach us the hidden resource of life, the place to run to when things get overwhelming and we find ourselves pressured. And this is not something to be reserved only for the great trials of life. It is available for any time of pressure, or any degree of it. When we accept this on that level, we are discovering the new creation, a new resource the world knows nothing about.
Lord, may I understand afresh the inner resources by which I can remain calm and confident in the midst of trouble and danger. Help me to manifest this, Lord, as a testimony to your presence.
Copyright © 2014 by Ray Stedman Ministries www.RayStedman.org