“The Family of God: Against Contrary Winds Prevailing”
Boats were built to load passengers or cargo at a certain place and deliver them to a place of destination. Without cargo there's no destination or course being set. Hence, cargo is the primary reason why boats are built (1 Kings 9:26-28; 1 Kings 10:11). Likewise, boat operators must be skilled to navigate the boat to safely reach the destination, no matter what challenges they might be facing along the way.
In the Gospel reading for today in Matthew 14: 22-33, Jesus sent His disciples ahead of Him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee while He was left behind to pray. He sent them not to load passengers or cargo, but it was still a mission that was top priority because they had to cross the sea no matter what uncontrollable forces they would encounter. They could not change their boat's course or destination to take shelter against the strong wind and waves. His experienced disciples, having a hard time rowing the boat against the waves due to the strong wind, could not rig the boat's sail because of the non-favorable wind direction and strong wind that would damage the sail and its mast (pole).
It was a long sleepless night of heavy rowing with the wind at their back (facing the stern of the boat) and in the fourth watch of the night (the fourth watch is defined by Roman time is the time from 3am – 6am) the disciples saw something unexpected in the middle of the sea that made them ponder. It was their teacher, Jesus, walking on the water! The disciples feared what they saw, but Jesus immediately comforted them. Peter, being sensitive to what he saw, challenged Jesus with a request to command him to walk on the water. At once Peter walked on the water as he obeyed Jesus, but he was frightened when he saw the wind and began to sink, even though Jesus was standing in front of him.
In the family of God each of us has a mission, and while serving Him there are times we experience difficulties in our lives (Matt 13:18-22; James 1:2-3). The only way to keep steady in our spiritual course to fulfill His mission is to spend time in prayer and to hang on to our Lord Jesus' promises in the Bible. Also, we must learn to have a positive perspective concerning the trials we are facing, knowing that trials and challenges serve to strengthen and humble (Psalm 139:23-24; Luke 6:48; 1 Cor. 3:13) our spiritual lives. In fact it is during the times of trials and difficulties where one's spiritual gift will be determined (Matt. 14:29; Rom 12:1-8; Acts 21:11).
Jesus never failed to pray as His means of communication with the Father and determined that His work would always be positive, that's why He was able to accomplish His mission. In the book "The Battle Plan for Prayer" authors Stephen and Alex Kendrick say that prayer means God's miracle working power is always a possible solution at work against whatever challenge stands before us. Prioritizing prayer means prioritizing God Himself.
Our Lord Jesus never changes (Heb. 13:8), therefore let us devote our time to prayer and be sincere in our mission and ministry, that when trouble comes we will prevail because Jesus stands at the right hand of God interceding for us (Acts 7:55).