Intimate In Distress

Sometimes it can appear as if Jesus is far away. Perhaps He has forgotten of us, perhaps He doesn’t care, perhaps He’s too busy. Sometimes it can appear as if Jesus is a God far off, and not near. But in fact, Jesus is just the opposite: God is just the opposite, for it is through Jesus that we see the character of God. Read in Jeremiah,

"Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off? Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD." [Jer 23:23-24]

So we see that God indeed is near. In fact, He fills every place on earth, on heaven, and under the earth. Remember what David encourages us with in Psalms, rhetorically asking,

"Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?" [Psa 139:7]

Look at an example from the Gospels, where Jesus specifically commands His disciples right into the center of a storm, and then waits until they have struggled against the storm before going out to them. Reading from Mark, John, and Matthew,

"And he saw them being tormented in rowing; for the wind was opposite/against unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and was intending to pass by them." [Mk 6:48]

"So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid." [Jn 6:19]

"But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, being tormented with waves: for the wind was opposite/against. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea." [Mt 14:24-25]

We see that Jesus is not ignorant of their trial. Though He sent them into it, He, as Mark records, “saw them” and we see this same concept in Psalms, which says,

"I will be glad and rejoice in thy mercy: for thou hast considered my trouble; thou hast known my soul in adversities;" [Psa 31:7]

And we read in 1 Peter, that these trials are necessary for purification and that in them we are kept by God,

"Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" [1 Pe 1:5-7]

In addition to Jesus’ oversight of what was going on, we see that before this He was praying in the mount. No doubt, praying for His disciples, as He does for us. For Hebrews tells us, “he ever liveth to make intercession for them” and we see in Matthew’s account,

"And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone." [Mt 14:23]

So it can appear that we are alone sometimes. The disciples must have felt that at least in part for they were mere men as we, “subject to like passions.” [Jam 5:17] However, Jesus was intimately involved the whole time. He prayed for them and He saw them and He went out to them. We see this in the Old Testament as well. David encourages us, telling us,

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear…Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled" [Psa 46:1; 2a; 3a]

The LORD is exceedingly near. But we have to call out to Him! Don’t let Him pass by the boat as it were. Read carefully in Mark, who records, “and was intending to pass by them.” Though our God is exceedingly near to help us and is interceeding for us, that does not mean we can be apathetic or lazy about it. Don’t give up, but call upon Jesus!

CONCLUSION

It may seem like God is far off, like Jesus doesn’t care. But be very certain that no matter how we feel, Jesus is near. He sees us in all of our affliction, all of our toil, and He is willing and ready to help us if we call out to Him.

"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth." [Psa 145:18]

"For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon Him for?" [Deut 4:7]

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