And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them.
Jesus obviously had a special relationship with His disciples. He handpicked these men and spent most of His time with them. He knew them well, as God knows each of us, but He also knew them as friends, like we know our friends. They traveled many miles together, ate together, talked with each other. He wanted to teach them many things, and He wanted to prepare them for the work ahead He would have them do.
And now Jesus stands on the land and sees them toiling in their boat, His watchful eye ever upon them. What must He have thought as He saw them fighting the waves, struggling to control the boat amidst a fierce wind? Surely His heart was tender toward His disciples. Oh, yes, He rebuked them when they spoke out with a wrong attitude, but He just wanted them to understand His truth. And when He looks out and sees their weakness, sees their smallness, their helplessness, surely He has compassion on them.
In our lives, there will be times when our friends are out in the midst of a sea, toiling in rowing, and we are on dry land. Let us have the same tender heart as Jesus. Let us be watchful for times we can help those who are struggling. Let’s be aware of what may be going on in the lives of our loved ones around us. And let us simply go to them and help however we can. Let’s seek out opportunities where we can step in and make a difference in someone’s life.
People may not always be in a place where they can ask for help. And sometimes God allows us to see someone’s toiling because we are the ones who can go and help. Throughout the course of life, we all face contrary winds. We all come upon hard times. We all struggle with different problems. And sometimes our own experiences allow us to understand to a degree what others are going through and how they might be feeling. And what a comfort it is to come across someone else who may have struggled in a similar way and can relate to what we are going through.
It’s also a great comfort to know that Jesus’ eye is upon us, as well. He knows every great trial we go through and each small struggle we deal with. Sometimes He delays His coming to us. Sometimes He comes to us in a miraculous way, as He walked on the water to His disciples. And sometimes He goes as if He would pass by until we cry out to Him for help. So let’s not be afraid to ask for help when we need it, and let’s be ever willing to help others who need our help along the way.