Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray. Later that night, 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. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed. (Mark 6:45-51).
Only moments ago, Jesus fed 5,000 families with a few loves of bread and two fish. Now he sends his disciples ahead of him to the other side of the lake. The disciples cross in a boat, straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.
When the wind is at your back, your efforts are multiplied. A small effort yields a big result. You go farther, faster, with less effort. You reach your destination quicker than expected.
When the wind is with you, work is a joy. You have more energy than you need. You have margin in resources. You can push harder and rest more.
But when the wind is against you, you work harder than normal, with less results. You work hard to even maintain your location. You become stagnant, and can’t seem to get anywhere. You have no momentum.
When the wind is against you, you wear down quickly. You have no margin. You quickly become tired—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.
Three things to remember when the wind is against you.
- The disciples are where Jesus wants them: “Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him.” The disciples are straining at the oars, with the wind against them, not because they are outside of the will of God, but precisely because they are following God’s will. Continue to seek God’s will. Strive to fulfill God’s calling, even if it means you must strain at the oars.
- While the disciples are straining at the oars, Jesus is in prayer—perhaps even for them. Let this bring you comfort: “The Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God” (Romans 8:27). The Holy Spirit is praying God’s will for us.
- When Jesus sees the disciples straining at the oars, he comes to them, walking on the water. As Jesus enters the boat, the wind dies down. Jesus can do what we cannot. Only he can change the winds.
Are the winds against you? Keep rowing! If you are following the Lord’s command, you must keep rowing—even against the wind.
And let us pray for Jesus to grant us favorable winds.
If you are following the Lord’s command, you must keep rowing—even against the wind. [Click to Tweet]
- How does this analogy help explain the results of your current ministry efforts?
- In your ministry, are the winds with you or against you? How do you know?
- In both Hebrew and Greek, the same word means both wind and spirit. What actions can we take in our lives and ministries to catch the winds of God’s Spirit?