– Hannah More
Devotional: Keeping Your Eyes on the Goal
Why are obstacles so frightening? It is because we have taken our eyes off the goal.
When Jesus sent the disciples across the sea in a boat, He knew that they would run directly into a storm. Jesus didn’t ask them, but “he made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side” (Matt 14:22). When the evening came, there arose a great storm, and He knew that the disciples were a long way off (Matt 14:23-24). What does Jesus do to reach them without a boat? He walks on the water, of course! It was “when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid” (Matt 14:26-27)! Then Peter asked if he could come to Jesus, which means Peter wanted to walk on the water, too (Matt 14:28). Peter did actually walk on water for a time, but then something happened. He took his eyes off Jesus and saw only the obstacles of the deep water, and then “he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord, save me’” (Matt 14:30). Of course, you know the rest of the story. Jesus took Peter’s hand and saved him (Matt 14:31), and the very moment Jesus stepped into the boat, the storm immediately ceased and the winds were calm (Matt 14:32).
Peter started to see and became frightened by the storm because he took his eyes off Jesus and began looking at the obstacles–the huge waves, the howling wind, and the deep, deep water–and he began to sink. Don’t ignore the fact that Peter’s faith was strong enough to walk on water for a time. It took courage to step out of that boat amidst the tempest. The only time he got into trouble, though, was when he started looking at the storm instead of fixing his eyes on Jesus. I can relate to that. Not that I’ve ever walked on water, but I have stepped out on faith at times and allowed the circumstance–what I saw with my eyes–to take my eyes, and really my trust, off Jesus. That was very scary, but I learned a valuable lesson: To see Jesus, we must look through the obstacles and see Him and not the obstacles.
What are Your Obstacles?
Every one of us has obstacles before us today. They might be financial uncertainties, worries over a job or not having one, concerns about a relationship, or anxieties over a serious illness. These are all obstacles that we must look through to see Jesus. Let’s hear from God: “I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me” (Jer 32:27) and “Is anything too hard for the LORD” (Gen 18:14)? The obvious answer is no, nothing is too hard for God. We are the ones who make it hard when we take our eyes off God and fix them on our obstacles. Jesus says to us today who have these obstacles before us, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26). You must be “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised” (Rom 4:21).
God is willing and able to help us, but He wants us to trust Him, and trusting Him is as simple as focusing our gaze upon Him and not our obstacles. He is the God of the impossible and loves to do what we ourselves cannot do. That way He receives all the glory.