But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But
straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:24-27).
The disciples were so swamped, so suddenly overwhelmed, the very thought that Jesus was nearby watching over them was absurd. One probably said, "This is the work of Satan. The devil is out to kill us because of all those miracles we've had a part in." Another said, "Where did we go wrong? Which one of us has sin in his life? God is mad at somebody on this boat!" Another could have asked, "Why us? We're doing what He said to do. We're obedient. Why this storm all of a sudden?”
And in the darkest hour, "Jesus went unto them." How difficult it must have been for Jesus to wait on the edge of the storm, loving them so much, feeling every pain they felt, wanting so much to keep them from getting hurt, yearning after them as a father for his children in trouble. Yet, He knew they could never fully know or trust Him until the full fury of the storm was upon them.
He would reveal Himself only when they had reached the limit of their faith.
The boat would not have gone down, but their fear would have drowned them more quickly than the waves beating on the ship. The fear of drowning was from despair—not water!
And when the disciples saw Him . . . they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit [ghost] (Matthew 14:26).
They did not recognize Jesus in that storm. They saw a ghost—an apparition.
The thought of Jesus being so near, so much a part of what they were going through, did not even enter their minds.
The danger we all face is not being able to see Jesus in our troubles. Instead, we see ghosts. In that very peak moment of fear, when the night is the blackest, the storm is the angriest, the winds are the loudest, and the hopelessness so overwhelming, Jesus always draws near to us to reveal Himself as the Lord of the flood—the Savior in storms.
The Lord sitteth upon the flood; yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever (Psalm 29:10).