Read Mark 6:45-52
45-50 Directly after this, Jesus made his disciples get aboard the boat and go on ahead to Bethsaida on the other side of the lake, while he himself sent the crowds home. And when he had sent them all on their way, he went off to the hillside to pray. When it grew late, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was by himself on land. He saw them straining at the oars, for the wind was dead against them. And in the small hours, he went towards them, walking on the waters of the lake, intending to come alongside them. But when they saw him walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost, and screamed out. For they all saw him and they were absolutely terrified. But Jesus at once spoke quietly to them, “It’s all right, it is I myself; don’t be afraid!”
51-52 And he climbed aboard the boat with them, and the wind dropped. But they were scared out of their wits. They had not had the sense to learn the lesson of the loaves. Even that miracle had not opened their eyes to see who he was. (JBP)
Sometimes we wistfully imagine ourselves to be personally taught by a Jesus who physically accompanies us and shows how life is to be lived. That would lessen our fears and anxieties. That would strengthen our faith.
Not likely. Those first disciples had plenty of opportunities to observe Jesus at work and to absorb his wise words to them. You might think that after seeing the utterly miraculous multiplication of the loaves and fish the disciples would have been prepared for anything. Someone who could do that sort of thing could do just about anything, including walking on water.
But they had short memories. And so do we. God gets us out of tight spots but when the next tight spot occurs we are inclined to panic and wonder if he is still around the place. God is faithful at one time in our life but that doesn’t mean we trust his faithfulness at other times in our life. God may have a good track record of looking after us, but we don’t draw logical conclusions from it.
This need not drive us to despair or self-loathing. God knows we are only human. God knows we have short or selective memories. God knows our present trouble tends to swamp other more trustful perspectives. And yet we are to cultivate the art of remembering. Remembering what God has done in the past helps us trust in what he is doing in the present and will do in the future.