Two weeks and counting.
Oddly enough, I’m fine with staying at home and not going anywhere, visiting anyone. Here is proof that I really am an introvert at heart. None of the social isolating bothers me. So why do I wander about feeling restless? Why is it hard for me to sit and focus on anything creative?
It dawned on me this week what the source of this “cloud” is. It’s the feeling that any minute now, the “bad” is going to happen. Lightning is going to strike and people I love are on the mountain top exposed. The air is full of a pressure change, indicating that a storm is coming and maybe, just maybe, I’m not ready.
I’ve a sense that I’m not alone in this subconscious dread.
My faith keeps my sanity, but am I truly trusting God? Do I doubt His care for me? I don’t feel like I’m stressing out, but this lack of focus says otherwise.
There’s a story told in the book of Matthew, chapter fourteen. Jesus spends the day doing miracles: teaching, healing the sick, feeding five thousand with no more than five loaves and two fish.
The disciples are there, they witness his care for the people, see how he finds a way to provide their needs.
At the end of the day, Jesus is exhausted. He sends the disciples on ahead of him, telling them to get in the boat and meet him on the other side.
I can imagine their adrenaline rushing, the excited chatter. Maybe they slap Andrew on the back, saying,
“Leave it to you to find a boy with fish and bread!”
“Yes! And look what the Lord did with it!” says another.
“My arms are sore from carrying all those baskets!” One might complain, to which maybe Peter would respond,
“You need to fish more often, you’re getting soft.”
I can close my eyes and see them, jubilant, too excited to rest, leaning into the oars to guide the boat to the other side of the lake, watching the sunset.
Life was good. Oh, so good.
Then, as the sun dies over the mountains, the wind picks up. The waters get rough. These are men accustomed to handling their small boat out on the lake, accustomed to dealing with unpredictable weather. They bend into it and row harder. They know what they’re supposed to do, they trust themselves to get it done.
This goes on all night, and the excited chatter has long stopped. Fatigue has set in, maybe discouragement and fear for their lives.
Just before dawn, there’s a flash of lightning and in its glow, they see a man. The man is walking toward them. On the water.
“A ghost!” The cry goes up.
Perfectly grown men are terrified and if you think they were rowing hard before, I’m sure it’s nothing like what they start doing now. There is no other explanation but that the man is some other-worldly specter—and he’s headed straight toward them.
No matter how hard they push themselves, the ghost keeps gaining on them. And the ghost looks a lot like Jesus.
They have never witnessed Jesus walking on water. Sure, he could heal and feed people, but walk on water? They are not reassured, instead, they’re convinced he is a spirit with no good intentions.
I imagine Peter, grabbing his large scaling knife and waving it threateningly in the air. Maybe he cries out, “What do you want? Leave us alone!”
Immediately, Jesus answers, “Take courage! It is I. don’t be afraid.”
I can hear the knife clanging against wood as it falls from Peter’s hand. I imagine all oars come to a sudden stop as the disciples strain to see over the rolling and crashing waves.
Peter, being Peter, is already climbing onto the bow of the boat, arms spread. “Lord! If it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
As if this were an everyday occurrence, Jesus stretches out his hand, and beckons Peter to come.
Girding the hem of his garment, Peter goes overboard, with no other thought than to be with Jesus. And Peter walks on water.
“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately, Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ he said, ‘why did you doubt?’”
Together, hand in hand, they walk to the boat.
I picture the disciples rushing to the side to help Jesus get in, and one more miracle happens. The wind dies, the waves cease. Peace returns to the waters.
The disciples throw themselves at Jesus’ feet, worshiping him, saying, “Truly, you are the son of God.”
I am reassured that my struggle to hold onto faith is not unique to me. Even the disciples struggled.
Despite Peter’s doubt, the Savior lifted him from the water, cruised over the crashing waves, and joined the others in the boat.
With Jesus, peace is restored.
The same applies to me and to you. May our Lord grant us peace in the storm and bring the smile back to our faces.
Is there a particular Bible story that helps you in this time of uncertainty? Please share in the comments below, and God bless you all.
In an effort to help break the monotony of your day while you are stuck at home, and maybe provide a mental escape from all that is going on, I am making my eBook, Anna’s Song, available for free, starting today, April 1, and going through Sunday, April 5. Tell your friends, and enjoy!