When Jesus learned of the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, it was probably one of the darkest hours of His life. Saddened by the bad news, Jesus departed from the crowd to a deserted place by Himself to pray. But the people from the cities had needs, so they followed Him on foot. Jesus performed many miracles that day, but now, He sought to be alone so that He might mourn for His cousin, John. But when He looked into the eyes of the poverty-stricken people, He felt compassion for them. Seeing their need, Jesus sat on the side of the mountain and taught the people about the kingdom of heaven and God’s love. And when He had taught them, He healed them.
Compassion Prompts Miracles
As evening approached, the people grew hungry. Jesus’ disciples asked Him to send them away before nightfall so that they might go into the surrounding villages to buy food. But Jesus urged His disciples not to send them away, but instead, they should feed them. But His disciples told Him that the only food they had was a young boy’s lunch, which consisted of five barley loaves and two fish. Jesus told them to bring the fish and the bread to Him and make the people sit down on the grass. Then He took the loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks, He broke the loaves and the fish and distributed them among His disciples, and they likewise, to the people.
After Jesus fed the people, He sent them home. Feeding five thousand people was miraculous. But Jesus did something even more amazing. He placed the people’s needs above His own. Even in His darkest hour, Jesus had compassion for the people. He recognized that they were in a dark hour, so He fed them.
Even in deep darkness, the light of God’s love shines through. I am not a stranger to trouble, having experienced a few dark days of my own. Having been addicted to the hideous drug, crack cocaine, I lived in darkness for twelve years. I have experienced hunger, but God sent someone to feed me. I have been homeless, but I never slept on the street. God’s love always delivered me.
The Lord Sees You in Your Calamity
Upon meeting all the people’s needs, Jesus sent His disciples to Bethsaida, which is on the other side of the lake. Then He went up the mountain alone to pray. Jesus was as much God as He was a man. Nevertheless, He submitted Himself wholly to His Father. Jesus understood the power of prayer, and He relied on His Father for everything.
It was already dark when His disciples got into the boat to make the ten-mile trip to the other side of the lake. Jesus looked down from the mountain from where He prayed and saw His disciples struggling to row against the wind. Mark’s gospel says, “…about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea…” (Mark 6:48). The fourth watch of the night is between the hours of 3 a.m. and 6 a.m.; it is the darkest time of a day’s cycle; it is just before the sun breaks the horizon. The disciples had been rowing their boat since dark, but they had only traveled about three or four miles (John 6:19).
When they saw Jesus walking on the sea, all of the disciples were afraid. But Peter, wanting to be sure that it was the Lord, said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus” (Matthew 14:28-29).
If you have been in a desperate situation, and it seemed you were making two steps forward and one step backward, you know that’s the time to look for God. He will always show up to deliver you in your darkest hour.
When Tragedy Strikes, Keep Your Eyes on Jesus
The Scriptures say, if you trust God, He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind stays on Him (Isaiah 26:3). For a moment, Peter’s faith in Jesus sustained him on the water. For that moment, he was in perfect peace because he trusted in the Lord. His mind was on Jesus and not on the waves. However, Peter allowed the wind to rob him of his peace. When he took his eyes off Jesus, he began to sink. But the Lord is faithful, even when we are not. Notice that when Peter began to sink, Jesus immediately stretched out His hand and caught him.
The disciples were in their darkest hour. They had been rowing for hours, and their hope was failing. In their darkest hour, the Scriptures said, Jesus came to them, and He would have passed them by. When I read this, I thought it strange that “the Lord would have passed them by” (Mark 6:48). But the Holy Spirit reminded me of how the Lord came to me in the darkest hour of my addiction. Then I realized that He would have passed me by too, but like Peter, I called out to Him, and just when I was about to sink, the Lord grabbed me and pulled me to safety. Then He entered my small world—my boat—and immediately, we were at the other side of my addiction.
The Lord Knows You Are Struggling
You might be struggling to overcome drug addiction. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to call on the Lord. Trouble won’t last always. He knows that you are struggling. He sees the storms of life bearing down on you. Without God’s help, you are destined to fail. How long will you look for your freedom in other places? “The Scriptures say, “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” (Psalm 3:8). Salvation is much more than being saved from the eternal flames of hell. Only God can give the wholeness and completeness of Salvation.
To a drug-addicted person, trying to turn away from addiction is the equivalent of Peter stepping out of the safety of his boat to walk on water. Peter knew it was impossible to walk on water.
People who are addicted know it is impossible to live addiction-free without help. With no knowledge of God or the fundamentals of faith, most people with a drug addiction will seek other sources of help. While it may be impossible to walk on water, it is possible to temporarily stay afloat with the help of a flotation device such as a life jacket. Likewise, without divine help, it is impossible to be completely free of drug addiction.
God is Always Near
God’s love is beyond comprehension. God does not force His love on anyone. God is always near, but He comes even nearer when we invite Him into our troubles. The Scriptures say, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8). God is a loving Father who knows when you have reached the end of your capabilities. In your darkest hour, call out to God, and remember, “…God is faithful. He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear, but with the temptation, He will make the way of escape.” (1 Corinthians 10:13).