ABOUT AUTHOR: LAURA FORD was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to a Southern Baptist missionary family. Ford holds a degree in theology with an emphasis in Christian Scriptures from Seattle Pacific University. She currently resides in Sugar Hill, Georgia with her husband and two daughters.

 The Fourth Watch

“He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them.  About the fourth watch of the night He went out to them, walking on the lake…” Mark 6:48

What difficulty in your life has you straining at the oars?  Does it seem as though the wind is against you, making it even more difficult to fight the raging waters?  If so, then what great comfort you can take in our text today as we read that, He (Jesus) saw the disciples straining at the oars.  Jesus can see your struggle, my dear friend.  In fact, He is watching, while standing on the shore, and merely waiting until the fourth watch of the night to meet you again.  From evening until the fourth watch, between the hours of three and six in the morning, Jesus kept His eye on His disciples.  He knew their boat would not sink and He knew that even though the winds were against them, the storm would not overtake them.  It may seem that Jesus is nowhere near you to calm the storm you are rowing in.  But take courage, He is standing on solid ground, keeping His watchful eye on you and allowing your faith to be strengthened.  Do not be discouraged, He will not stand far off for too long.  He is waiting until the faintest break of dawn to walk out on those same waters of affliction and rejoin you in the boat.      

These waters that I’m rowing in, I feel are drowning me!
I strain at the oars, but to no avail, I’m still blown out to sea!
Captain, You’ve abandoned ship! Oh why won’t You return?
Can’t You see, the wind and waves? For rest, my body yearns.
Captain, please! I don’t understand? Won’t You rescue from the storm?
Look, the boat!  It’s breaking now and its sails will soon be torn!

Dear sailor, I can see the storm, it’s right in front of Me.
I see the waves, the wind, the rain, the threatening of the sea.
Though I have kept My watchful eye on you, from evening until now,
And know the strain has wearied you, but it’s what I have allowed.
It’s hard for you to understand how I choose to test your faith,
But unless the boat is rocked a bit, a heart won’t reveal its sway.
For I need you to be anchored, knowing My presence is always near,
And I need you to know I’m watching, so there is no need to fear.
So wait a little longer, therefore, continue in the strain,
At dawn I’ll walk right out to you, and My peace I’ll bring again.

~Laura Ford~


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