Matthew 14:25; “Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea.”
"When you find yourself in deep water always trust the one who walked on it" (Anonymous). Perhaps like you, I too love this story. In it Jesus sends His disciples across the Sea of Galilee whilst He has gone up on a mountain to pray. Now the Sea of Galilee lies in the lower portion of the Jordan Valley in a mountain range that rises to 1,220 metres above sea level while the lake itself is 220 metres below the Mediterranean Sea. What is apparent is that this body of water is susceptible to sudden and extremely violent storms which are caused by the cold air rushing down from the mountains surrounding it and colliding with the warm, moist air rising off the surface of the water itself. This is none different to what the disciples experienced. We read that the wind was fierce, and that they had rowed long and hard against it before Jesus came to them, walking on the water “in the fourth watch of the night” which was somewhere between 3:00 and 6:00 a.m. So of course we ask why Jesus only went out to them in the fourth watch. That’s what you’re thinking right? Why didn't He come right away, when the storm got bad? Okay, during the second or third watch might have been cool too – we would have taken that! Yet He did not. It was during the fourth watch, literally at the bitter end after they had battled the waves for around nine hours, that Jesus walked out to them. Again, as in most of our life-threatening situations, we ask the question; “Jesus, why did You wait so long?” Why do you think? Before you respond think of a situation you found yourself in when Christ came through ‘in the fourth watch’ for you. Can you picture it? I can, clearly, as it happened to us recently. So … why? Perhaps He wanted the disciples (and us) to exhaust their resources, and realise there was no way out but through Him only. Perhaps the situation you brought to mind was something unbearable at the time and, at the end of your tether, you found yourself crying out saying; “God, if You don’t come through for me now, I am literally ‘finished’. I will lose everything!" As weird as it may sound to some who read this devotional as they may never have encountered a situation like this before, it is not such a bad place for anyone to be. Someone once said that “when we get to the end of ourselves, we get to the beginning of God.” Ever come to the ‘end of yourself’ before? Are you perhaps ‘in the fourth watch of the night’ yourself right now? If this is the first time you have experienced the fourth watch, let me assure you that Jesus will show up without fail. Where man might desert you 'when the going gets tough', Jesus never does. My prayer is that you choose to hang in there with Him, because, one day soon you are going to look in the rear-view mirror of your life and things will finally make sense and look surprisingly good. Proverbs 3:5-6.