This is the story of Jesus walking on water. He had just finished feeding the five thousand (men, besides women and children) and then IMMEDIATELY he sends his disciples into a boat and to go ahead of him to the other side of the lake so he can spend some time in prayer. He walks out across the lake to them and when they see him, they are terrified and Jesus IMMEDIATELY says to them, “Hey guys, no worries, it’s me”. Then excitable Peter wants to walk on the water too, but as he gets out there, he’s afraid and starts to sink and Jesus IMMEDIATELY reaches out and catches him, asking “why did you doubt?”
Obviously, immediately stood out to me in this passage as it is used three times in these verses. Jesus sends his disciples away to cross the lake before he has even dismissed the crowd, right after collecting the leftover food. Then he immediately responds to them in their two times of need. He didn’t wait a second or two to take in their terrified faces or wait a second or two to “teach Peter a lesson”. He was very quick to take action to comfort them and save them.
I know I am guilty of waiting to respond to take in the reaction of others first or try to teach a lesson where perhaps an immediate response is the better course of action. Or I wait because I am “busy” and need to “just finish up” before responding. I can get so absorbed in what I’m doing that I fail to really be aware of the rest of my surroundings.
What would life look like, how would it be different, if I were to be better at responding immediately? Of course, not everything requires an immediate response, but sometimes, I put off a good immediate response opportunity for a variety of reasons. I would say that most of the time, it comes down to my selfish nature. I can’t know anyone else as well as I know myself and that is my biggest stumbling block – selfishness. My time, my money, I need to relax, I need to finish this project, I need, I need, I need. Having children has challenged me on so many levels because of that. I don’t always get my time. I don’t always get to do “just one more thing” or eat my own food or relax as long as I’d like or whatever else. Most of the time I am okay with it, but sometimes I really resent it. Sometimes I wish it was just me so I could do whatever I want whenever I want to do it and not have to be accountable to anybody or share my time and space.
Those moments don’t last very long, though, thankfully. Usually it’s in the middle of a busy season or when I have a mountain of laundry needing to be put away and dishes overflowing everywhere and a playroom I can hardly walk through and dogs completely up in my face and being spit up on for the fourth time today and short nap times and extra needy kids. It is usually in those extremes that I fail to immediately respond. I intentionally wait and wait. I don’t offer comfort when it’s needed.
There is a lot I can learn from this short little passage about responding immediately and appropriately, asking the right questions, and saying the right things at the right time. “Take courage, it is I” and “Why did you doubt?”
This mama thing can be really hard, but learning from and leaning on Jesus, I know I can make it through even the hardest seasons.
Where can you be better at immediately?