The disciples have been struggling for a long time. Jesus is aware of that struggle – he has been watching them since early evening. Why? Why doesn’t Jesus come earlier? Why doesn’t Jesus relieve them of their burden?
We have been there, haven’t we? We have had long night of sleeplessness, long seasons of struggle. We have had those times when we are tired, frustrated, and sore and we wonder why Jesus isn’t coming to relieve us of our torment. The reality is that Jesus doesn’t always come when we first call him. Jesus doesn’t always come when asked and relieve us of our burdens or stress or worries. Prayer is not a dog whistle that moves God to respond whenever we blow, whenever we pray.
But here is what we do know. God comes. Jesus comes. The Holy Spirit arrives, the Godhead shows up in power when we are at the end of our resources. Jesus arrives when we have persevered. Jesus comes when we have done all that we can do, when we have endured all that we can really handle. Jesus comes not according to our time, but according to God’s time. And friends, that is always the right time. There are lessons to be learned from that.
We learn that we are actually capable of more than we think. We learn that the first appearance of trouble does not have to be our last chance to survive. We learn that we are stronger than we think. We learn the value of friends helping friends. We learn lessons that we can only learn in the midst of struggle. These are not fun lessons to learn, but they are critical ones, nonetheless. Jesus comes when only the appearance of Jesus makes it possible for the disciples to survive.