God has given us an ironclad promise for life on this earth. He says that when our enemy attempts to walk over us, “Therefore my people shall know my name; therefore they shall know in that day that I am he who speaks: ‘Behold, it is I.’” (Isaiah 52:6, NKJV). In other words, God says, “When you’re in your darkest trial, I will come and speak a word to you. You’ll hear me say, ‘It is I, Jesus, your Savior. Don’t be afraid.’”
In the gospels, the disciples were on a boat in an awful storm, being tossed about by torrents of wind and waves. Suddenly, the men saw Jesus walking toward them on the water. Scripture says, “When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out for fear” (Matthew 14:26).What did Jesus do in that fearful moment? “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.’” (Matthew 14:27).
I’ve wondered why Jesus used these particular words, “Be of good cheer.” Why would he say this to men who thought they were about to die?
The word ‘cheer’ means “to be relieved, happy, released from fear.” Here in the disciples’ time of distress, Jesus tied the word to his identity. Remember, these men knew him personally, and he expected them to act on his word by faith. He was saying, “The Father has promised I’ll come to you in your storm. It is written, ‘But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior’” (Isaiah 43:1-3).
Now I’ve come to you in your storm. It’s me, Jesus, here with you in the midst of it all. So, cheer up.” Likewise, our Savior expects the same faith reaction from us, in our distressing times.