The 4th watch night experience

What are you afraid of in life?

There is a website called phobialist.com. I was surprised to see hundreds of phobias listed in that site. Some are funny, some surprising, some shocking and worrying.

Here are some. Let’s start with easy ones.

Acrophobia –  Fear of heights

Traumatophobia – Fear of Injury

Triskaidekaphobia – Fear of no. 13

Gamophobia – Marriage

Gelotophobia – being laughed at

Gerascophobia – growing old

Soceraphoboa – Parents in laws

Necrophobia – death or dead things

Kakorrhaphiophobia – Failure of defeat

Cancerophobia – Fear of cancer

Ecclesiophobia – Church

Homilophobia – Sermons

These are handpicked by me but there are hundreds of such phobias. But when God created this world he didn’t create these phobias. Cancerophobia: do you know how many people are living a miserable life thinking every symptom they have is related to cancer?

UK Cancer research press release on 8th Dec 2010 says

“cancer is the nation’s (Great Britain) number one fear but more than a third think getting the disease is down to fate and there is nothing they can do to avoid it – according to a recent survey. Overall the survey found  that one in five men and women in Great Britain feared cancer ahead of debt, knife crime, Alzheimer’s disease and losing a job ” 1

That’s worrying. That’s the state of the world we are living in. People are gripped with fear.

Then there are fears like Panthophobia – fear of suffering and disease, dead things, failures, defeat, being laughed at. etc and these are really concerning. These fears interfere our daily lives and distort us from what God created us to be.

National institute of mental health says

60 % of things we fear will never take place

88% of things feared in relation to health will not happen

30% of things we fear happened in the past and cannot be changed

90% of things feared are considered to be insignificant issues 2

We fear and worry about our relationships, spouses, children, our job, our health, finance, future and the list is endless. We take actions listening to the voice of fear and make our life miserable and we blame God for our miserable life.

Here are some fundamental truths about fear:

God did not create any of these fears

We take actions and live life constantly under the influence of these fears

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. So these actions taken based on fear result in hurts and pain

We blame God for what he did not create or produce in your life.

You may ask what should I do if I am gripped with fear?

Well… FEAR has two meanings.

Forget Everything And Run

Face Everything And Rise

The choice is yours today!!!! One day Jesus left the disciple with the same choice.

Immediately after the miracle of feeding the 5000, Jesus made the disciples get into a boat and go on ahead of him to the other side.

The scripture says,

“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. ” 

The Amplified bible says ‘He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent away the crowds.’

In other words he gave them an assignment. Their job is to sail to the OTHER SIDE.

You must remember that these are trained fishermen by profession. So it’s an easy job for them. They would have been trained from childhood to sail and would have faced various dangerous scenarios.

The scripture says

“and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.” 4.

So when the wind and waves came they would have thought this evening was no different. They would have said ‘been there .. done that. it’s no big deal. We can handle it.. I AM AN EXPERT. I AM SKILLED.’

In this modern and fast paced society many are saying “I am talented. I am skilled. I don’t need God.” If that’s you, you are gravely mistaken!!!! Your job, your skills, your career, your relationship, your money, your beauty etc won’t take you to heaven. They can come with you only to an extent. You cannot rely on them. You cannot put your trust in them.

Jesus said in Mark 8: “36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” 5

Psalms 20: 7 says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” 6

Famous mathematician Blaise Pascal said “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, ” 7

Never put your trust in anything apart from God. Your skills will fail, people/relationship will fail, health with fail, money will fail but God will never fail.

Maybe you are hurt by people, hurt by past relationships it’s because you were holding on to it as though it is life. Just learn to surrender it and forgive those people. Put your trust in God and not on man.

God will never be late.

The scripture says

“But the boat was by this time out on the sea, many furlongs [a furlong is one-eighth of a mile] distant from the land, beaten and tossed by the waves, for the wind was against them.

And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea.” 8

Ever wondered why Jesus came at the fourth watch of the night?

Romans divided the nights into 4 phases. 1st  watch – 6 to 9 p.m.. 2nd watch 9 to 12.. 3rd watch 12 to 3 and .. 4th watch 3 a.m. to 6 a.m.

During the 1st watch of the night.

They would have thought. “We are skilled fishermen and we won’t fear anything. It’s an easy job. We can beat any dangerous situations. Bring it on.”

2nd watch of the night.

Probably two or three disciples would have said.. ‘Guys are you sure we can do this?  I think we need some help. I wonder where Jesus is.’

Probably Peter and John would have said “come on guys we can do it. Don’t be a coward. Jesus will join us soon. We are not that far from shore. Lets keep moving.”

3rd watch

By this time the majority would have given up. But two or three would have been highly optimistic about their skills. “Guys we are almost there. Don’t lose hope. Jesus will be on the way now.”

4th watch

There must have been utter silence. Utter despair and utter hopelessness. They were all physically exhausted because of continuous efforts to save their boat from sinking. Their prayers must have been exhausted. Their expectations must have been exhausted because they expected a prompt response to their emergency. Their hope must have been exhausted as they were now too far from the shore. If Jesus had any plans of joining the disciples he would have come by now. Now there is no chance of Jesus coming.

Are you in this phase of life? Are you in the fourth watch night experience? I had been there.

Good news. No matter how far you think you are from God, he is not far from you.

CHRIST IS ON THE WAY.

Naomi after losing her husband and two sons in a foreign land said in the scripture my name is no longer Naomi and I will be called as “Marah”. Marah means bitter. In other words she was saying “It’s all over. That’s the end of my life.”

But do you know that was the first chapter in the book of Ruth in Bible. Naomi thought that was the last chapter in her life. Your last chapter is the first chapter in God’s book!

So if you find yourself in the 4th watch of the night, cheer up! Jesus is on the way. Don’t let fear conquer your faith. God will never be late. Jesus might have been physically away from his disciples but they were on his mind. Scriptures says ‘You have been inscribed in the palm of his hands.’ He wants you to learn an important lesson of trust and dependency. When you say, “I have tried everything Lord. I am desperate for you. Help me”, he will jump into action. It’s not over until God says it’s over. Hang on and there is hope for you.

If you are encouraged by what you read today, would you share this article with a friend, co-worker, or family member?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *