The Fellowship Of The Oars
“. . . Jesus made His disciples get into the boat . . .” Mark 6:45
The disciples had launched their boat at sunset. They had not sailed far when they encountered a storm, which lasted well into the night. They struggled tirelessly against the winds and waves. There’s no doubt that, as they fought the storm, they questioned why Jesus had made them get in the boat and, why He had not come with them. It was only a test.
It’s helpful to know the difference between a trial and a test. In a trial, there’s adversity and the potential for loss. A test happens in a controlled environment. In a trial, there is pain and injury. In a test, no one gets hurt. A trial is an attack of the enemy to break your spirit. In Mark 4: 39, Jesus rebukes the hostile forces. In Mark 6:51, Jesus acts as proctor keeping watch over his students, He simply steps onto the boat and the wind and rain ceases. A test happens under the watchful supervision of our Lord.
The disciples were not forgotten, and neither are you. From the mountain, Jesus was watching the little boat in trouble, straining against the tumult of the moonlit waves. He went to them. He doesn’t wait till they are in trouble, He was already on His way. For every test He gives, He also provides the answer – Himself. He sees and He cares. The Master has no intention of leaving us on our own. Jesus uses tests to teach us to trust tenaciously. He does not rescue the disciples out of the sea, but enables them to continue the voyage.
It’s the test that make us tough. No one ever develops Godly character without stress and strain. If life were only easy, we would be lazy disciples and would never know what it means to be strong in the Lord.
The contrary wind creates a fellowship of the oars, the need to keep pressing and pulling forward in the faith. All the tests across the sea of life have this tension – will we be strong in the pressure, or collapse in a wreck without learning what the Master is teaching.
Are you in a test or a trial? What is He teaching you? Are you learning to trust Him?