Have you ever had someone say these words to you, "Now, pay attention"? Its part of learning isn't it? Most children in the world have heard that phrase or something like it at some time in their life. How many opportunities have passed us by because we were not paying attention?
Ok, where is this coming from? A couple of years ago I read a passage and noticed something I had never noticed before and wasn't sure I understood. I made a note of it and have run across it several times, but finally started thinking about it more this week.
Notice the passage: Matthew 6:45-51, "And straightway he constrained his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. And when even was come, the ship was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. But when they saw him walking upon the sea, they supposed it had been a spirit, and cried out: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid. And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered."
Now what intrigued me about this passage are 6 words towards the end, those words are, "and (he) would have passed by them." I struggled with this, because here is the one that can do miracles, I mean, after all he was walking on water already. He can see that these poor guys are scared to death of drowning and rowing and bailing like crazy to get themselves across the lake, "and (he) would have passed by them." I don't know about you, but I would have expected Jesus to walk up to the boat and say, "don't worry fellows, I have it all under control," but he didn't, and I find that somewhat confusing, but because it doesn't fit into my preconceived ideas concerning Jesus.
Maybe I'm strange, but I've spent a lot of time thinking about that issue. It may not bother you at all, but I asked myself, "Why would Jesus do that?" I think I may have finally got a glimmer as to (what might possibly) be the answer. I think that just like those apostles in the boat we are often rowing and bailing and trying to make it through life on our own power. Jesus wants us to pay attention, take time to see him and call out to him for help. I think that is why those 6 words are recorded for us, God wants us to pay attention, take note, learn from what Jesus did!
Do you think that Jesus has ever passed you by, simply because you were stubbornly trying to make it on your own power, too busy to realize that he is standing near by, so busy that we forget call out to him? I think that is part of the secret to understanding what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:13. Notice the words: "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."
Maybe it's time to come to the truth, that we don't have all of the answers, that we sometimes don't have the strength to deal with the storm that surrounds us. Maybe it's time to pay attention, open our eyes and see Jesus standing nearby, willing to help if we will just acknowledge him.