Monday, January 16, 2012

Jesus, the Wind and the Waves

You know, the way we perceive our lives and especially our troubles might have more to do, not with how we choose to look at them, but with what we choose to ignore. Let me explain.

Remember the story of Jesus walking on the water. Scripture tells us that "When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified. They said, 'It's a ghost!' and began to scream because they were afraid."(Matthew 14:26)

These are grown men, remember. Screaming from fear. I love how the Bible never white-washes the humanity of anyone in its pages. Not their proudest moment, to be sure, especially when Jesus "immediately" responds "Calm down! It's me. Don't be afraid!" (Matthew 14:27)

Peter at this point, delighted the Lord by asking Him to let Peter "come to (him) on the water." This was a great comeback for the disciple. His wounded pride, after screaming like a baby from fear, is ready to participate in the miracle of walking on water. His faith has been fully restored. Peter is wonderfully able to swing from terror to faith in seconds.

But what happens? After starting out strong "when he noticed how strong the wind was, he became afraid and started to sink. He shouted, 'Lord, save me!'" Not only does his mercurial faith spout in a second, it recedes just as quickly.

But, stop here with me for a moment. We've all heard the story and been told that we should keep our eyes on Jesus, not on the storms (of life). And this is true. But notice another thing. When Peter cries out, it is only reasonable to assume that he still had some distance to cover before reaching the Lord. If Jesus had been RIGHT BESIDE him, or DIRECTLY AHEAD of him, within arm's distance, say, how likely would he have been to succumb to the wind and waves?

Not likely at all. When you have GOD right in front of you, what is there to fear?
So it is reasonable to assume that Jesus still looked a bit far off. In the distance. THERE, but not so close that wind and waves didn't matter. Isn't this how we often see God?

When you have GOD right in front of you, what is there to fear?

So, here's the thing: After he cried out, "IMMEDIATELY, Jesus reached out, caught hold of him, and said, 'You have so little faith! Why did you doubt?'"

Do you see the amazing thing here? Jesus looked far off to Peter--far enough away to think he was in danger of drowning. Far enough away to make a grown man so afraid that he would SHOUT "Lord, save me!" But in an instant, a blink of an eye, IMMEDIATELY, in other words, the Lord "caught hold of him."

This is why I say that how we perceive our life, our troubles, our personal wind and waves, is not only a matter of how we choose to see, but of what we choose to ignore.

THE LORD IS NEAR. (Phillipians 4:5b)
Don't ignore that. No matter how distant he seems to you, he can IMMEDIATELY catch hold of you. In fact, he does hold you, and all of your circumstances, within the boundaries of his loving plan for your life, just as He does, mine.

How silly Peter must have felt when "they got into the boat,(and) the wind stopped blowing." (Matt.14:32) This was no coincidence. Jesus could have stopped the wind while Peter was out of the boat just as easily as he did when they were safe inside.

This is another take-away from the story. Our wind and waves are a test. They are only a test. We are always safe with the Lord, no matter where He takes us.
Let us CHOOSE to see Him near. Ready to catch hold of us, no matter the circumstance.
Let us CHOOSE to delight Him with our faith.

Warmest Blessings,

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