Try to put yourself in the disciples’ sandals. Exhausted from a long day of feeding the multitude, your boat has taken a beating from the wind and waves. It’s about 4:00 a.m., and now a person glides toward you stepping on the water as if the lake had congealed. If common sense somehow escaped your reasoning that people tend to sink when attempting to walk on water, you might also think back to your days in the synagogue and remember that only God walks on water (Psalm 77:19; Job 9:8; Isaiah 43:16). Of course, terror would cloud your mind and judgment, causing you to think a ghost strides toward you and your friends. In this moment, what could calm you?
He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
presence calms fears
Not wanting to torture his disciples or play a terrible Halloween-esque prank on them, Jesus immediately calmed their fears. Rather than offering them a parable, platitude, or pep-talk, he gave them his presence. Their comfort came from his nearness. That short phrase, “It is I,” comes from the two Greek words εγωεμι (ego eimi), which couldalso be translated “I am.” These two terms, though small in stature, are giant in meaning. Jesus intended to harken back to the days of the Old Testament when God comforted his people with his name, Yahweh (Exodus 3:14)—the great I Am. I Am helped Moses free the Israelites, helped Joshua conquer Canaan, helped David establish his throne, and now I Am stood on the lake offering his presence in the midst of chaos. Like the saints before us, we also have the promise of I Am to stay with us in the midst of crisis. Our peace comes from his presence.
respond in faith
In response to Jesus’s invitation to have faith in him during times of uncertainty, Peter rightly asked to participate with Jesus. Peter showed great faith by getting out of the rocking boat, only to show the power of doubt in chaos. Doubt, as James teaches us, divides us in two (James 1:6–8). On one hand, Peter had the invitation and presence of Jesus telling him that despite all odds, he could and would walk on water. On the other, the wind and waves screamed loudly at Peter, “You will die!” This interaction between Jesus and his waffling disciple reminds us that faith in the midst of trials requires an undivided focus on our savior, not our surroundings. Though waves and wind churn all around followers of Jesus, we must return to Christ’s proclamation: Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.
courage comes from presence
Like the disciples and Peter, we will all face trials and tribulations, fears and failures, doubt and despair. Use Peter’s courage to help you get out of the boat at the invitation of Jesus. And, when you step out in faith, remain steadfast in keeping your eyes on Jesus. He comforts us not by making us strong or fearless. Rather, He comforts us by giving Himself to us. Wind and waves will come, but I Am will never leave you nor forsake you.
Watch Session Two
Jesus Calms Our Storms
What trials are you or others in your life facing where you need the reminder that Jesus stands in solidarity with you, offering you his presence? How can knowing you are never alone in the midst of hardship strengthen and encourage you?
Jesus standing with us in solidarity reminds me of the great faith Daniel had when he was thrown into the lions’ den and the great faith Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had when they were thrown into the fiery pit. God offered them His presence in the midst of great trails. Since He is the same yesterday, today and forever, I can trust that He will stand with me in the midst of hardship and that I’m never alone.
This reminds me of finances mostly.. making sure my husband and I are in the same page because that always seems to be our biggest struggle…. my medical costs are quite large and as his work has really slowed down with all of the quarantine… so it has impacted us tremendously… so we need to be mindful of spending and our communication…
When we are older we can look back on life and look at so many times of God’s faithfulness. One time on my first Home Assignment from the mission field, I had no money. I was in between a situation. At that time I came back to a stack of mail 1 1/2 ft high. Sorting through it I found an envelope from the County of Orange and in it a check for $900 of back child support. My daughter was 22!!! Just know in your trials that you serve a pretty creative God who loves to surprise us and knows what we need. It also reminded me that God was with me the whole time.
After suffering a miscarriage, especially multiple losses, it’s very easy to let the doubts and fears set in. To remember the previous outcomes and allow yourself to sink into the past. It’s difficult to remain hopeful that you’ll reach the finish line, when you never have before. Remembering that regardless of the outcome, He will never leave you and will always provide just enough strength to carry you through the store should be the truth that outweighs doubts and fears. I need to remember that
The pandemic and isolation
Reading his word daily and speaking his promises over me are a daily reminder that he will never leave me nor forsake me. That strengthens my faith.
My daughter and grandsons moved in with me due to financial hardship. Uncomfortable with returning to work she found an online job which has its challenges. She is feeling down. I am encouraging her to see God’s hand in her situation. She isn’t homeless, the kids are safe, she has a job, we are all healthy God has been good to us. He loves us and is with us, we do not have to be alone. With God we will make it.
Being over worked and under appreciated. Being pulled in many different directions and being made to feel like it’s just what I’m suppose to do bc I can handle it and do it. It’s exhausting.
Jesus calms me, he sees my stress rising and my anxiety trying to take me down. But God… he shows up just when I need him.
Things I shared in the last post, but remembering that Jesus is first in my life. Nothing else. I get so caught up in the day to day that instead of talking with him I’m ranting to someone else or just sulking in my day, instead I can come to him, he is right there, waiting for me to talk with him. Truly knowing he is right there gives me all the strengths and peace I need, I just have to trust that he is there, even in the chaos. He is the calm in the center of it all.
I love how Peter wanted to be part of the miracle asking Jesus to command him to come. But when he took a few steps he started doubting. I feel like I’ve done that many times in my life but I also think like Peter did, that as soon as I do cry out to Jesus letting him know my fears and doubts he brings hope and calmness back to my life. My trials are related to those that I love the most. My family dinamics are difficult and there’s days I’d rather just sink then still keeping faith, but just when my head is about to sink under water I’m filled with hope again!
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