Ever get that 'sinking feeling'?
I'm prone to get it somewhat regularly, even more in these days fighting Lyme- as with Lyme many days are stormy; or if you aren't in the midst of a storm currently, there many times seem to be dark clouds hovering at the horizon, taunting us...
I came to Matthew 14 today- and paused on the account of the great storm the disciples encountered while sailing across treacherous waters. Jesus had remained on land, intent to join them on shore later.
Seems the journey was going smoothly, but characteristic of this sea, a violent and sudden storm overtook them.
A goodly number of these men were sea-soned fisherman- but even they became frightened of the swelling sea in the darkness.
Here they look out, and adding to their fear- they see an apparition, walking towards them across the water swells.
Here is the account from Matthew 14:
22 Immediately He [l]made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already [m]a long distance from the land, [n]battered by the waves; for the wind was [o]contrary. 25 And in the [p]fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out [q]in fear.
Who wouldn't have been terrified in that moment- even these seasoned, matured men!
I appreciate the phrase 'for the wind was contrary'- which means 'opposite in direction, nature, or meaning'...
How do the winds blow for you today- are they 'contrary'?
27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Ah- 'immediately Jesus spoke to them- Mind you, the wind is still contrary- but even in it, the disciples heard Him reply to them to 'take courage, do not be afraid'.
What is this courage- when we are being tossed in a seemingly merciless manner by waves of pain, discouragement, fear, unknown, numbness, itching, hallucinations,fatigue, brain fog, panic...
Courage is a part of Jesus' being- When we have Jesus present, we have Courage present. Courage doesn't have to be like grasping at jello; it can be if courage is what we seek...
but Courage is in the person of Jesus, when we call to Him, reach for Him- then we have Courage-
28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
Emboldened, dear Peter steps out into the tumultuous sea- We can imagine his eyes fixed on Jesus...just as a child fixes their gaze on a parent as they step out in trust-
30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”
Ah, can't you just feel for Peter here! Can you related? You rise up, step out- and wham, you are hit by a gale of wind, the waves surge- your footing is shaky...and immediately we begin to look around us to get out bearings..
but circumstances are unreliable for good bearings in those moments when everything around you seems to be moving, pulling, pushing, twirling...
It is hard to redirect our focus onto Him...and in that, Jesus stretches out His hand to His beloved-
31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
It wasn't until they were 'in the boat', at the appointed destination of the boat, that the wind stopped... not when they first saw Jesus; not when Peter stepped out (to make it easier for him, after all- he was being such a 'good Christian', when we'd think it would calm...); not after Jesus takes Peter by the hand...
Our storm may not stop immediately- but when we call upon Jesus' presence- our inner heart and soul are encouraged, we aren't alone as we navigate walking through the stormy sea swells- Keeping a focus on Jesus. He knows at what point the wind will calm, the waves will stop rolling...
Ours is to keep our focus on Him, be encouraged that Courage has come, He is with us- He is taking us by the hand and will lead us through this storm.
And, the storm will pass.
Life has many storms that arise- all the more so for those of us with Lyme; the storms seem to be compounded expotentially!
But may through each one- we learn to more quickly and suredly call out to Jesus, our Courage to en-Courage us; for Him to take us by the hand and lead us through the treacherous seas...each time more deeply building our trust and faith in Him to do as He promises.
The seas won't always (usually) calm right away- but we have a Loving Guide who will see us through the storm...get us to where He knows we need to be
So that- those in 'the boat with us', and we ourselves, will also respond as the disciples did: 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
Praise Him who is Courage, our Strong-hold, our Guide- truly Jesus is the Son of God!