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Encouraging obedient, yet storm-tossed missionaries

Matt 14:28-30 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water”.  29 So He said “Come.”  And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me”!

WHAT JESUS PERMITTED TO HAPPEN TO THOSE WHO OBEYED HIM THEN

Peter and the other apostles were in a boat that was being pummeled by a huge storm on the Sea of Galilee.

They were in that boat and on the sea at that time because they had been obedient to Jesus.

HE told them to go before Him to the other side and they launched out to accomplish the task that He had given them to do.

Apparently, the sea was calm when they departed, but the conditions changed radically in a short amount of time.

It now appeared as if everything was coming against them and hindering them in their efforts to do what they had set out to do in obedience to Jesus.

As they struggled to move forward, Jesus appeared to them right in the midst of the storm.

But He didn’t come to them in a way that they would have ever expected.

In fact, the way He appeared to them was so out-of-the-box, (or actually, out-of-the-boat), that they didn’t recognize it was Him.

They honestly thought they were seeing some kind of spiritual being.

Seeing their fear, Jesus spoke a word of encouragement to them and also made clear to them who He was.

At that point, Peter said something that was almost as out of the boat as what Jesus Himself was doing.

Peter asked Jesus to command him to come out to Him…..on the water!

Jesus responded by giving Peter the command that Peter himself originated.

So Peter got out of the boat and began walking on the water toward Jesus.

But as he walked, he diverted his focus from Jesus.

He began focusing on the waves and the other effects of the fiercely blowing wind and he became fearful and began to sink.

Jesus responded to Peter’s cry for help and reached out and rescued him.

Out of love, Jesus described Peter’s faith to him as “little” and then rhetorically asked Peter why he had doubted.

OBEDIENT MISSIONARIES MAY BE EXPERIENCING SOMETHING SIMILAR

–Like the apostles, they’ve obeyed the Lord’s command to go.

–And like the apostles, the initial phase of their journey, even with the challenges of relocating to a different country, may have gone fairly smoothly.

–But perhaps recently, they’ve discovered the truth the apostles did in this event–that obeying God doesn’t always lead to smooth sailing, but may actually mean sailing in to a storm that is more powerful than any thing they have encountered.

HOW TO ENCOURAGE OBEDIENT, YET STORM-TOSSED MISSIONARIES

Obedient, storm-tossed missionaries need to be encouraged, and if you would like to be the vessel of His encouragement for them, gently and humbly challenge them to:

1–Be faithful and keep moving forward in obedience to their original call, regardless of what the storm is throwing at them.

2–Keep the eyes of their heart and mind alert–being diligent to look for Jesus in places they’ve already seen Him in the past.

3–Be prepared for Him to come to them and show Himself to them in ways that He has never has before.

4–Cry out to Him as quickly and as boldly as possible when they perceive that He is revealing Himself to them.

5-–Keep their focus on Him, resisting the temptation to let their attention drift back to the situation, challenges, or people that have been exerting influence over them.

6–Remember that even if they do lose focus on Him, He won’t ever abandon them–that He’ll always rescue, encourage, and then exhort them to have greater faith and trust in Him than they ever have before.

 

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