Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. – Matthew 14:23
Interesting story, isn’t it?
Didn’t the disciples think it was strange for Jesus to send them out to sea while He remained behind? What had they already learned about Jesus that gave them the confidence to leave without Him? The fact that Jesus wanted to be alone with His Father was certainly no surprise (it was a common practice), but how would they catch up with each other later? Apparently, the assurance of His purpose trumped their uncertainty about His presence.
In our own relationship with Christ, even amid momentary confusion, there is always some truth to be gleaned and applied. First, the power to serve comes only from the presence of God. As it was essential for Jesus to be alone with the Father, it is essential for each of us. Life and ministry can be emotionally and physically draining; however, we experience moments of refreshment and realignment when we are able to sit uninterrupted with the One who made us, bought us, and continually fills us.
Second, when we consider all that God has done to be with us, we understand that He will never leave us. We must obediently act upon the Lord’s commands, knowing that He will “show up” at just the right moment to meet the need, further His purpose, and display His unparalleled glory.
Assurance grows by repeated conflict, by our repeated experimental proof of the Lord’s power and goodness to save; when we have been brought very low and helped, sorely wounded and healed, cast down and raised again, have given up all hope, and been suddenly snatched from danger, and placed in safety; and when these things have been repeated to us and in us a thousand times over, we begin to learn to trust simply to the word and power of God, beyond and against appearances: and this trust, when habitual and strong, bears the name of assurance; for even assurance has degrees. – John Newton
Dr. David Pope is President and Founder of POPE Initiatives, a non-profit organization committed to providing executive-level management and support services for major global mission efforts.
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