I ran my hand over the large rock and closed my eyes. What an incredible moment it was for me to stand where Jesus once stood. I opened my Bible and let the full reality of all He was facing, fall fresh on me.
I wanted to read the Scriptures leading up to this moment where He sat on Mt. Arbel and prayed and watched the disciples just before walking on water.
But I cautioned myself to read the uncommon sentences. Too many times I highlight verses telling of Jesus’ miracles but skim right past those telling of deeply human realities.
In Mark 5 we see Jesus interacting with a woman desperate to be healed from her bleeding disorder. He frees her from her suffering and gives her peace. And we find Him healing the young daughter of a synagogue ruler.
But we also find in verse 40, “But they laughed at him.”
In Mark chapter 6 we find Jesus sending out the twelve disciples and as they preached, “They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them,” (v.13.)
But we also find verse 3, “…And they took offense at him.”
We find Him having great compassion on the people who followed Him in the feeding of the five thousand. They all ate and were satisfied by five loaves and two fish.
But we also see that Jesus and His disciples were physically depleted, “because so many were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,” (v.31).
Messy realities were in the midst of the miracles.
And isn’t it so like us to miss this about Jesus’ everyday life? We hyper focus on the lines of Scripture containing the miracles so much that we miss the detail of the mess.
Jesus had people laugh at Him and reject Him and misunderstand Him. We know this in theory, but as I sat on that rock that day I suddenly realized what an everyday reality this was for Him.
Now, here’s what happens to me in my life… I get so focused on the mess, I miss the miracles.
And that’s the very thing that happens to the disciples right after the feeding of the five thousand. They got in a boat and strong winds caused the water to get very rough. The disciples were straining at the oars as the realities of life beat against them.
Jesus was on the mountainside praying. From this spot on Mt. Arbel, Jesus could see the middle of the lake where the disciples were. Mark 6:47-48, “When the evening came, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.”
Jesus saw them. He went down to them. And they missed the miracle in the midst of the mess.
The same miracle worker that multiplied the fish and the loaves was now walking on the water near them and they thought He was a ghost. They were terrified and then were amazed but they didn’t understand for the Scriptures say, “their hearts were hardened,” (v.52).
It seems to me Jesus has a pattern of doing the miraculous in the setting of messes.
Oh Lord, let me see this. Please don’t let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence. Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me. And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence.
I need to spend a whole lot less time trying to fix the messes in my life… and a whole lot more time keeping my heart soft in the process. Then I won’t miss the miraculous work of Jesus in the midst of my mess.
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