Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled. For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.
In the above story we see the disciples of Jesus on the water fighting a strong wind and Jesus comes to them walking on the water. They panic because not only are they caught in bad weather which is dangerous to them but now they think they see a ghost on the water. These same disciples had just witnessed Jesus feed the 5ooo with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. They had seen God’s provision in a miraculous way and yet even after they had obeyed Jesus’ command to get in the boat and row across the water, they were still afraid. At the end of the story we see it’s because their hearts were hardened.
How do our hearts get hardened? They get hardened when we allow hurts or disappointments in this world to make us believe the lie that God does not keep His promises. We start to believe that we are going to get hurt again and we expect bad things. God wants us to trust Him and place our faith in Him.
Look at the parable of the sower, told in Mark 4:1-9 and explained in Mark 4:13-20. Jesus tells of a farmer sowing seed on 4 types of ground. He goes on to say that the seed represents the Word of God and the ground represents men’s hearts. The 1st seed falls on the wayside or pathway. This is the hard stamped down ground where people walked. The birds came immediately and ate these seeds. Jesus teaches that these are the people who hear the Word but immediately the devil comes and steals the word away from them. Their hearts were hard like the hard ground!
Pray and ask Jesus to make your heart soft, God promised to take away our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Spending time speaking with Jesus, building a relationship with Him will also soften your heart. Reading the Word of God will help you to see the goodness of God and help you to trust Him. Faith will rise up and you will grow and get stronger. The seed of God’s Word will take root in you and grow and bear fruit!