Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Hope in a Storm

The gospel of Matthew, chapter 14 records the familiar story of Jesus walking on water.  Jesus and His disciples had spent a long and strenuous day ministering to large groups of people who had come from the neighboring towns and countryside to hear Him teach.  At the end of the day Jesus and His disciples were tired and in need of rest.

Scripture records that Jesus sent His disciples away on a boat to go across a large lake known as the Sea of Galilee.  He, in the meantime, would go up into the hillside to pray.  There is no record of an explanation for how they would meet up again, only an expectation of obedience to His command.  The weary disciples rowed, and  the night grew dark.  A storm rose and rocked the boat with high winds and waves.  Jesus, seeing their plight, moved in.  

As Jesus walked across the water toward the boat, His disciples cried out in alarm fearing they were seeing a ghost.  But Peter called out to Jesus and said, “Lord if it is really you, command me to come to you on the water,” to which Jesus replied, “Come”.  If you are familiar with the story, you know that Peter took a step of faith, got out of the boat and walked on water, but out of fear began to sink into the depths.  

Answering Peter’s cry for help, Jesus came to him, extended a hand, and lifted Peter to safety by His side.  Here was a picture of hope in the middle of a storm.  It wasn’t pretty or well-packaged with a soaring film score in the background, it was raw and it was real.  The men on the boat feared for their lives, but one of them stepped out.  Say what you will about his fear and lack of faith, for which he was reprimanded, out of all the disciples, Peter stepped out of the boat.  He bet his life on a hunch that he was really seeing Jesus, and that Jesus could help their situation.

The story is really not about Peter or his lack of faith, nor about the quivering disciples in the boat, but rather it is about Jesus.  Peter was right to trust in Jesus.  He was literally their only hope amidst a time of storm.  Many of you readers have had times of storm in your own lives, whether physical, financial, familial, or otherwise, and your hearts have yearned for that kind of help.  Jesus extends a hand of help, but it comes at the cost of faith.  For some reason continually placing our faith in Jesus is difficult to do, but it gets a little easier every time we do it.  

I am thankful for Peter, even as a faulty example.  I know he looks a lot like me when I doubt in times of storm.  And above all I am thankful to Jesus for always being there, calling me out onto the waters of faith and holding out a hand of rescue when I need it most.

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