When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. Jn 6:19
It’s the middle of the night, the disciples are miles out to sea. The wind is howling and the waves are battering their little boat. They’re drenched. Rowing with all their might. Getting nowhere. Then they see something. Can barely make it out in the darkness. It looks like the faint outline of a man. Is it a man standing up in a boat? No there’s no boat. Is it someone walking along the shoreline? No – they’re 3-4 miles from shore. What is it? The apparition is coming directly toward them. In terror they cry out “It’s a ghost” (Matthew 14:26).
Why are they frightened? Why don’t they expect it to be Jesus? Because he’s never done anything like this before.
He’s done some astonishing miracles but none like this. This is completely unexpected. They have no category for a man walking on water. God’s provision for them is so completely surprising they’re terrified at first. No boys, it’s not a ghost. It’s Jesus, coming to help you in a way you never could have imagined.
God has ways of providing for us that we can’t possibly imagine.
So often in our trials, we try to figure out how God is going to help us. ”I could sell hot dogs on Main Street over my lunch hour.” “I could check out that dating site, RiskyMatch.com.” “I could buy a lottery ticket — maybe that’s how God will provide for me.”
God has ways of providing that aren’t even on our radar screen. He put a gold coin in the mouth of a fish to pay the temple tax. (Can you imagine Peter saying, How am I going to pay this tax? I know – I’ll go fishing. Maybe I’ll catch a fish with a gold coin in its mouth.) God caused the soles of the Israelites shoes to not wear out for 40 years. He provided water from a rock and manna from heaven. He multiplied a few loaves and fishes to feed thousands. He provided a ram in a thicket for Abraham. In our darkest hours, Jesus comes walking over the chaotic waters of our lives and gets into our little boats and everything’s ok.
This is why Jesus says don’t be anxious about tomorrow.
We don’t need to know how God is going to provide. All we need to know is our heavenly Father loves us and has ways of meeting our needs that we haven’t conceived.
We simply need to submit our requests to him with thanks and his peace will guard our hearts. And after he’s provided for us, we’ll say we never could have imagined God would have helped us that way. And once again, we’ll have something to marvel about in our wonderful God.
How about you? How have you seen God provide unexpectedly for you? Do you have any stories of how God brought answers to prayer you never could have imagined?