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God is Sometimes a Fourth-Watch God

Christ walking on the sea, by Amédée Varin
Someone approached me one day while I was going through my heaviest trial, and said, "God is sometimes a 4th watch God". 

It made me deeply ponder and wonder and then research what she meant that.  

In the New Testament there is that beautiful story of the Savior appearing in the night, walking on water, after his disciples "toiled in rowing" for most of the night. We can all relate to that exhausting symbolism of moments and times in our own lives of toiling in rowing. Here are some insights I 've  learned from this story. 

The Hebrew nights were roughly divided into 4 watches:
  • 6:00 PM-9:00PM = 1st watch
  • 9:00 PM- Midnight= 2nd watch
  •  Midnight-3:00 AM= 3rd watch
  • 3:00 AM-Sunrise= 4th watch
The idea of God sometimes being a 4th watch God comes from the concept that God does deliver His people. It is in our times of trial,  toiling, exhausting every idea, and turning over every rock  that He comes to deliver us. It's the 4th watch when we think the time is past, and delivery is a vanished, that He comes.

  1.  In the days of Abraham and Sarah of the Old Testament, God watched Abraham and Sarah very carefully thru their faith-filled lives.  Abraham was 99 years old, and Sarah 89 years old, when God made the Abrahamic Covenant with them that they would have an increase of seed without end.  Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac, a time in a woman's life when it is way past the child bearing years. Sarah delivered her first-born child and became a mother. Isaac was later also saved from death when Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac in what would appear to us to be the last minute, and the fourth watch.  (Genesis 21)
 2. In another time on the Sea of Galilee we see the disciples on the water.
The term "fourth watch" comes from an account in Mark in the New Testament when the Savior came to them in what was the literal "fourth watch" of the night. After the Savior fed the 5,000 he sent His Apostles away down to the Sea of Galilee. During the night,  a storm comes up. It was a vicious storm in John's account  and the Apostles row for the equivalent of approximately 75 football fields against the wind. They are exhausted, weary, broken down and their hope is starting to grow thin. Sound familiar?

Mark 6:48

And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 
This is such a perfect phrase, the wind was contrary to them, and that they toiled in rowing. There they were over-fatigued, fighting and pushing against the demanding waves and storm. We've all been there.  We want it to be over, but it's not yet, so we have to keep enduring until relief comes.
John 6:19
  So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus  walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 
Thirty furlongs is the equivalent of 75 football field in length against the wind. That literally exhausts me thinking of that, but we've all been there before in that type of struggle through a trial or hardship.
The Savior saw them in their struggle on the sea and He sees us.  He's watching us toil in our rowing in contrary winds, and He's waiting only for the time to come for His delivery.

3. Then in the 4th watch of the night, He came unto them walking on the water. 

Oh I How I wish God was a first watch God. Sometimes He is! I have countless experiences, as I'm sure you all do, of  God hearing and answering a prayer or a pleading immediately. He is there constant and straight-way.  But sometimes, that is not His will. Sometimes the Lord's will is for us to experience some struggle and for things NOT to go the way we expect. If the Lord was there to answer  our prayer RIGHT when we wanted, and exactly how we wanted,  there would be no growth.  Our roots would not dig down deep, and when storms came, we would not have the faith to with stand the winds. I know it is in the 2nd and 3rd watch that I am really tested and really grow to become who God needs me to be. He comes in the 4th watch when it really matters, and He. does. come. 

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