God has given us an ironclad promise for life on this earth. He says that when our enemy attempts to walk over us, “My people shall know my name: therefore they shall know that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I” (Isaiah 52:6). 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 Matthew 14, 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 spirit; and they cried out for fear” (Matthew 14:26). What did Jesus do in that fearful moment? “Straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid” (14:27, italics mine).
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.” And 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, ‘they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I’ (Isaiah 52:6, italics mine). 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.