“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of them to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.” (Matthew 14:22)
Did you catch that? Jesus made the disciples get into the boat. He knew full well what he was sending them into and yet he made them get in the boat—without him—and head to the other side of the lake. He was totally aware that he was sending them into the middle of a huge storm. Why on earth would he do such a thing? Maybe because he was trying to accomplish something in them.
Thus, he was both intentional and purposeful. He didn’t see them as he watched from the mountainside and think to himself, “Oh dang! I didn’t see that coming.” No, he was actually trying to accomplish something in them that could be accomplished no other way. He was leading them beyond where they were. Jesus always calls each one of us beyond where we are, so why should that be a surprise? He sent them into the storm so they would come out of it knowing him better. He sent them into the storm so that at the end of the whole episode they would be standing in awe with their mouths wide open saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
A wise saint once said that “There is an intent of God behind the content of life.” The painful content of this life entered the world as a result of the fall: storms, floods, hurricanes, death, disease, diagnoses, violence, abuse, addiction, depression, anxiety, fear, and the list goes on. Jesus did not create the storm, he just sent them into it. He used the storm to give them a bigger and better picture of who he was. God is big enough to even use life’s most brutal and evil content, to accomplish his intent. He uses it to invite us to a deeper and more beautiful life with him.
It happened with the disciples, and my guess is that it has also happened with you. When was the last time God sent you into a massive storm just so you would see and know how big and awesome and wonderful and loving and powerful he really is? When was the last time you stood in awe saying to yourself, “Truly you are the Son of God”?