, , , , , , ,

Olympic Aftermath – Paralympics

I enjoyed the Olympics – not hour after hour but, the highlights. I especially like the personal interest stories about the athletes. But, my goodness, they seem to get younger and younger with each Olympics; or more likely, I’m just getting older!

I admire the young athletes – their disciple and focus. I am encouraged by their dedication and the joy on their faces. It gives me hope that not all young people are protesting or looting or wrecking their future with drugs and sex. These kids are focused. And hopefully, they won’t get sidetracked by fame or wealth that may come their way. It can be heady stuff and easily divert a young person. It almost did Michael Phelps but he was able to get back on track.

My pastor’s daughter is in the Paralympics starting in Rio, September 11th. She will run the 100, 200, 400 meter races. Her name is . We are all so proud of her. In 2010 she gave birth to her son but contracted a very rare blood disorder and her leg had to amputated below the knee.

She showed incredible courage and resilience  – as did her parents. She rose above the situation, didn’t yield to self-pity. She didn’t lose faith through the struggle, her marriage survived and she is stronger now than ever. Her son is as cute as a bug and her husband is supportive and steady. She has worked so hard to be where she is and has a sweet testimony of the faithfulness of God.

Her training has been intense and she’s gotten the skills and speed to show for it. She is admired by all who know her journey.

It happened at the same time her leg was amputated that I knew a man in a horrific car accident. He lost his left arm. But he lost much more than that. He lost courage, faith, perseverance and pride. Now he hides from life and people. His self-worth was all wrapped up in his image – an amputated left arm didn’t fit the image he wanted to portray. It is really sad. But he made his choice. Maybe one day he’ll try to redeem what he lost.

Pray for my pastor’s daughter, Liz Willis, and watch her run like the wind! NBC will broadcast some of those games.

 

 

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Being Real in Life!

I flew to Little Rock this past weekend to speak in Little Rock at That Church. Yes, That Church’s name is That Church! Not a name you soon forget! Nor the people you encounter there. What terrific place.

I had dinner with the women’s team facilitators on Friday night after we flew in. They were so full of energy and love and joy – though some I talked to one-on-one, were carrying heavy, personal burdens. They had leaned the secret to the abundant life! They were also a hoot! Lots of laughter and you could tell they are truly all friends. I appreciated that they just took Krista and me in like we belonged. It was relaxing. Krista and I enjoyed ourselves.

When you travel like I do, you never really know what you’ll find on the other end. These are folks I communicate with by email or phone until I meet them at the gate. They are usually strangers to me but it doesn’t take long to figure out if they are “stiff and formal” or fun-loving and relaxed. I like both kinds of groups, actually. I have a reserved, formal side and people are always surprised to find I have a keen sense of the ridiculous. I don’t take myself too seriously.

If I am quiet and boring it is usually because I am exhausted!

Anyway, on Saturday I spoke to their women’s ministry “Real Women”. And they are. No pretense. No masks on. It was a joy to be amongst them. I gave my testimony and it was exciting for the first time to include the fact that my 7-year-old grandson was finally able to have the trach removed! He’s had it since birth. He was born with multiple issues – had an Apgar of 1. He has endured multiple surgeries, we almost lost him a number of times. But God is writing his story and it will be exciting – it already has been.

He spent his first few weeks and months of life at The DuPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, DE. What a great place! Then  spent many days at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Again, a great place. I am so grateful for the dedicated staff at both places. he has esophageal etrasia and bronchial mylasia. (I am sure I have spelled them incorrectly.) His case is quite rare; caused by a thyroid medication my daughter took before she knew she was pregnant. His case is written up in medical text books.

Through this long ordeal my daughter and her husband have been remarkable. So often having special-needs child destroys a marriage. In this case it didn’t. Yes, there were really rough days but they weathered the storms – not that it is ever smooth sailing.    Overtime they came to visit me they had to basically set up a hospital room: machines, ventilators, suctions, IV pole…  I was always amazed. My son when he saw al the equipment they had to bring at Thanksgiving said to me, “Mom, I didn’t realize.” They never complained. My daughter became his advocate and pity the poor doctor or nurse who got in her way. She is like a mother bear with her cubs. She is fierce!

Anyway, we are rejoicing that his trach is out – he no longer has a tether. (He still has his G-tube.) I am sharing a video of him taking it out himself, trowing it away and thanking people for praying. We are more than thankful for the way God has worked, is working, will continue to work. Rejoice with us!

 

, , , , , , , , , , ,

Potential

This was written by another but I wanted to share it!

“Ponder the potential of an egg. Ideally, under the proper circumstances of fertilization, the egg could become a baby chick. But just as most eggs do not become chicks – their highest fulfillment – so we, a humans, do not usually attain our highest dreams and ideals. Yet, all is not lost, for an egg that does not become a chick is still very useful!

Before this egg is useful, however, it must first go through various treatments. Initially, and egg just be candled and graded. In the candling process, a tube light shines through it to detect imperfections or cracks. It must have a healthy life cell. Just so, the searching light of the Holy Spirit must penetrate our inner life cell to be sure there is a new life cell in Christ and then to expose our imperfections.

Then this egg must be graded for size; some are small, others- medium, large and even jumbo. These are actually equally valuable in that there are occasions when a small egg is more desirable than a larger one and vice versa. Just so, each of us has varying capacities and gifts, but we are equally important and needful in the plans of God.

After the candling and grading process, the egg is boxed and then distributed warehouses and stores. The eggs have no say-so, but must go where they are sent. We, too, have assignments in life. Perhaps at times we feel all “boxed in”because of our circumstance in life. We may even be tempted to break out of the box – that confinement – but f we are to be useful, we must be patient and trusting.

After all this preliminary treatment, finally the egg is recognized for its importance; it is now taken off the shelf and purchased by a shopper. If only the egg new what lies ahead, it would undoubtably prefer staying right there on the shelf in the grocer’s cooler. Without any warning the egg is mercilessly plunged into a pan of cold water. And if that is not ruthless enough, it soon feels the flame beneath the pan. Gradually the water becomes hotter and hotter until it reaches the boiling point. The egg must wonder how it can possibly endure any more treatment – the fact is, some cannot…they crack in the intense heat!

By now, the egg must be asking apprehensively, “What next?” Suddenly it becomes aware of a cracking of its shell. And not only breaking, but then follows peeling – how humiliating! But that is the part of the process for our becoming useful – our outer shell must be broken. The self-protective facade must be cared so that the Christ life can be released from within.

The peeling is more distasteful than the breaking because of the humiliating exposure of our naked selves. How we resent others gazing upon our losses and failures.

“Surely, matters can’t get much worse for me than this!” the egg must be thinking hopefully. But it suddenly feels the sharp cuttings of a knife across its already peeled body. “Perhaps the chef is cutting me into attractive wedges so I might be used to garnish a salad…ah!…useful at last. But no…they are chopping me into small pieces.” the egg moans. And the eggs is mashed into nothingness.

Until we are aware of our nothingness – without God – we are not useful to God. So He supervises our candling, grading, distribution and then allows the fiery trials, the braking, peeling, cutting and mashing that we might become useful.

Now that the egg has been mashed into nothingness, the chef mixes mayonnaise, pickle, mustard, a little salt and pepper with it, and it becomes a delicious egg salad with which they prepare egg salad sandwiches to feed others! So as the processed oil of joy of the Holy Spirit blends our mashed nothingness with the life of Christ within, we become food and nourishment for hungry souls.”

 

By Ruth Shank Shira in her book, God Recycles Broken Dreams, 2013 ANM Publishers,Charlottesville, VA.22905

Scriptural references: Psalm 139:23-24; Romans 12:4-5; Micah 2:5; Psalm 37:23; Psalm 37:34; Isaiah 43:1-3; Psalm 34:18; I Peter 2:24;  John 3:30; Isaiah 61:1-3.

 

 

, , , , , , , , ,

Learn from our Mistakes

This is by a “contributing editor”, Noelle D., my daughter.
In sharing her story and mistakes she wants to help others avoid the pitfalls. She has been remarkable through this and a testament of grace.

So You Want to Remodel….
(read this first)

I was awakened at 5:15 on a Friday morning by my son saying, “Mom, there is water coming in my room.” He was right, it was raining outside and water was coming in through the window but not only in his room, but every window in the rear of the house. Before long, water was pouring through the master bedroom ceiling fan. By then, I had a bucket and was dumping it every five minutes as the water continued to pour in. By the time the rain stopped outside, all but three rooms in the house had water seeping in them. Water even trickled down the basement walls.

A week earlier, my husband, Maury, and I had hired our next-door neighbor (whom I will call John and his wife Sue) to do repairs. They told us they had a licensed and insured construction company and could replace our roof and gutters. We took him at his word and did not verify his business license or insurance. His estimate for replacing our roof was less than the other estimates. He justified this by stating he was giving us a break since we were neighbors. His estimate was $7500 (keep this number in mind).

Our neighbor began replacing our roof on a Monday. By Thursday, John and his crew were still taking the shingles off, and the forecast now called for rain late Thursday night into Friday morning. He tarped the front roof of the house but failed to tarp the back roof of the house which was exposed – no shingles or tar paper, just roof decking. The rain came. Water poured in everywhere – attic, master bath and bedroom, boys room, upstairs hallway, HVAC ductwork, kitchen, downstairs bath, living room, study, sun porch, even trickling down to the basement’s back wall.

John came over first thing that Friday morning. He apologized profusely and stated he and his insurance company would take care of the damage and make our house better than it was before. At this point my husband and I were dumbfounded and overwhelmed. We had four kids, ages 9, 6, 4, and 2 at the time and homeschooling one of them. Also, our house was on the market – one reason we decided to re-roff in the first place. What were we going to do?

Later that morning as I was downstairs, there was a loud “BOOM!” I rushed upstairs and attempted to get into the master bedroom. As pushed the door open, I realized the master bedroom ceiling had fallen (the ceiling was made of plaster), thankfully missing my husband and our four-poster bed by 3 feet, but damaging other furniture.

In the afternoon, John’s insurance came to assess the damage. The agent informed me that the insurance would accept this claim and our living expenses would be covered. However, I was not informed of my options: Could we use another contractor to make repairs? How long would this take? Should I call my homeowners insurance? It was my understanding after meeting with the insurance agent that my only option for a contractor was John. Therefore, the contractor that was negligent and caused the original damage was now the same contractor repairing the house. (Fox guarding the henhouse comes to mind.)

John said Maury and I needed to pack up the house. The rear of the house needed to be gutted due to the water damage – the attic, master bedroom and bath, boys’ room, back wall of the first floor which included a bathroom, living room and kitchen.

He stated it would take two weeks to put the house back together as he was pulling crews from other jobs, making our house his priority. We made living arrangements accordingly.

The next eight weeks (not two) were nothing but manipulation and deception, which included the police being called on two separate occasions because of fierce arguments between John and his crew. Crews were not pulled from other job sites, as there were no other job sites. Each day there were different workers at the house, who were not allowed to talk to Maury or me.

Replacing our roof took three additional weeks. What was supposed to cost us $7500 cost another $3500 due to “damaged roof decking.”

John stated that he had spent $20K on replacing our kitchen cabinets. A disagreement between he and the cabinet company ensued with the cabinet company threatening to put a lien on our home. Maury talked to the cabinet company directly and found out that the cabinets were builder grade cabinets and that he only spent $9000 on them. When John found out that Maury was going directly to the cabinet company himself to deal with this dispute, his wife Sue texted the cabinet company and told them to not tell Maury how much they spent on the cabinets.

Maury and I questioned whether permits needed to be pulled for the construction. John stated that he was working with the insurance company to get permits. The insurance company stated John should have been pulling them all along!

John pitted the insurance agent against Maury and me, often telling the agent one story about us and bemoaning the actions of the agent to us.

The final straw was when John stated he needed the final payment from the insurance company. He claimed his brother was sick in Florida and that he was going to be traveling for a week. Maury and I had grave concerns and stated we would not sign any release forms until the house was finished. John got his final payment directly from the insurance company.

He did not go to Florida to see his “sick brother.”

Finishing our house became a low priority as two weeks had passed after receiving the final payment and the repairs on our house were still not completed.

Finally, we had enough and fired John.

At this point Maury and I contacted the insurance agent, he shut us down and quit communicating. We asked if we could have documentation of John’s license. The insurance company said we could walk next door and get documentation directly from John. We never got documentation of John’s license from him or the insurance company. John was not a licensed contractor!

The next six months became an arduous process of seeking legal counsel, going to the Better Business Bureau and State Insurance Commission, documenting all the damage and repairs that had yet to be done and then getting the repairs done correctly by another contractor. Almost everything John had repaired had to be re-done — permits had to be pulled, a structural engineer had to be called, hardwood floors had to be refinished, gutters had to be replaced, kitchen cabinets reset, electrical outlets that were once grounded were no longer, kitchen plumbing that had been to code was no longer and was leaking, and the list continued on and on. It was not until the beginning of January 2014 that we finished repairs on the house.

Where were we living during all of this? Since we were told repairing the house would take two weeks, we made temporary living arrangements. Since the process was prolonged, we ended up jumping from place to place. One week at my mother’s, two and a half weeks in North Carolina (while Maury stayed behind for work), ten days in a cabin at a campground, and then another three weeks at my mother’s house. This past fall we lived in the house while the repairs were going on.

There was a period of 10 days in which we did not have a working kitchen.

Then we had to move all our furniture in the rooms that did not have wood floors so we could refinish the ones that did. We were out of the house for another week. It was not until the beginning of January 2014, almost nine months from the original water damage that the repairs to the house were completed.

In this process, Maury and I tried to keep a sense of normalcy for the children.

They did not feel secure, were anxious, and had nightmares (which just recently stopped). It did not help that during all this upheaval that our cat died. She was an older cat and the stress of the construction process proved too much!

We had to seek professional counseling for one of our sons due to his anxiety.

Others losses we incurred: We lost the Spring season for the Real Estate market as the house had to be taken off. Maury lost work days in order to help deal with the mess. Homeschooling was interrupted. We had huge financial losses – thousands of dollars in legal fees not to mention getting the house to repaired correctly.

No doubt, we learned a lot from this whole experience, and that’s what we wanted to share with you. So, if you’re thinking about remodeling your home or having any sort of major repairs done, ask yourself several questions and follow some simple rules:

1) Get 2-3 quotes for the work to be done.
2) Get references on all the contractors who gave you quotes, but pay special attention to and check those that make the ‘final cut’ and will be doing the work.
3) Ensure that your contractor is pulling the appropriate permits for any work being done on your home.
4) Ask for the contractor’s license and insurance documentation and then check on the State’s DPOR website to ensure that the license is still in force.
5) In the state of Virginia, if a dispute arises between entities in a contract, each one is responsible for their own legal fees. Therefore when writing a contract, specify that if dispute should arise, the losing party pays for the legal costs of both parties.
6) If you have damages, especially those caused by a contractor working for you, be sure to immediately contact your own insurance company and report the incident.

I hope this helps…

, , , , , , ,

Above Our Means

I am writing at my desk as my oldest daughter is in the kitchen homeschooling 2 very reluctant children that would rather be playing outside. Their negative persistence is remarkable as is her positive patience! It illustrates for me this truth:

The world is in turmoil. (Just like my grandchildren!) That is not really new. The speed with which the world is changing is new – and can be frightening.

The US President just reversed the policy of not negotiating with terrorists, releasing 5 dangerous men; a US Marine languishes in jail in Mexico; little girls are deciding they want to be boys and parents post the story on Facebook; veterans are dying as they await medical treatment; an ambassador is brutalized and killed in the line of duty; we find it hard to believe what the government and the President say; energy and food costs are climbing, as is the jobless rate… Rather a grim picture.

But we have treasures. We have promises.

The Apostle Paul wrote in II Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God in him (Jesus) are yes and in him (Jesus) Amen, unto the glory of God by us…”

The Amplified Bible says it this way: “For as many as are the promises of God, they all find their Yes (answer) in Him (Christ). For this reason we also utter the Amen (so be it) to God through Him – that is His Person and by His agency – to the glory of God.”

Ponder that a bit. All the promises – as many as there are. How many is that?

All the promises are answered affirmatively in Jesus.

We have the opportunity to put those promises into operation in our lives to the glory of God and His purposes. As we cooperate with Christ and God’s promises a whole treasure trove opens to us!

Think of the many promises of grace, peace, mercy, rest, strength, encouragement, forgiveness, protection, supply…you name it. It is all found in Jesus affirmatively. Not for our pleasure or ease but for the glory of God – the whole reason we are here on earth.

As we claim and operate in those promises we enter into a realm of God’s glory. A purpose far greater than anything known here on earth. We have the opportunity to walk in the heavenlies with saints and angels even while living out our lives here on earth in the midst of the turmoil. (Just like my daughter.) Talk about living above your means!

We don’t have in ourselves the means for peace, joy, grace, forgiveness, rest, strength, mercy, protection, encouragement, protection, supply…we’re bankrupt. He isn’t. He gives all we need for free!

My daughter is able to teach with patience and good humor because she goes to the treasury of God’s promises in the Person of Jesus and claims liberally all that He offers for her for practical everyday living.

It’s all available for you, too.

, , , , , , , , ,

God Hope

Last week I had the joy of speaking with my daughter, Windsor. We were the guest speakers for The Women’s Resource Center in Mobile, a pro-life organization that is doing a great job being a beacon of hope, love and truth right across the street from Planned Parenthood.

For years I have spoken for such groups because of Windsor’s and my story – she chose life 3 times. Two were unplanned pregnancies when she was in her teens – her baby girl she released for adoption and her baby boy she chose to parent. Her third child was born with significant challenges five years ago.

As you can imagine those were not easy times in our family but God has been so faithful to us. As I watched her stand before 1000 strangers to tell her story I thought back on our journey…the struggle, the anger, the tears… And she stood there looking lovely, poised, confident…all she wasn’t those many years ago.with Windsor in Mobile

We have just started to speak together – it is fun to have her along plus she tells the story from the birth mother’s perspective. We all applaud adoption and are so happy for the adoptive couple. But so often people forget that in the shadows stands a young mother with a broken heart. A woman who made a very courageous decision. Like Windsor did.

Windsor was articulate as she told of the ups and downs in her life with her cute self-deprecating humor. I am so proud of who she has become and the little family she has made. When all of it was happening I could never have imagine all God would do in both of our lives – the healing that has taken place!

It was a rough road. But we both know God in a way we wouldn’t have any other way. We grew in grace and understanding of each others and even strangers. God promises to make the crooked straight and the rough places smooth…He has kept those promises.

We’d like to encourage you – if you are in the thick of a difficulty – hold on, don’t give up. God is at work even if you cannot see Him. He has a plan and it is a good one. He will reveal it in time. Claim His promises. He always does what He promises. We get disappointed because He doesn’t meet our expectations. Our expectations fit our thinking not His. We have to align ourselves with His Word.

It isn’t easy but it is real. There is hope. A good hope – which is not wishful thinking. It is a hope based on the unchanging character of God.

, , , , , , , ,

Taking it by Storm!

I’ll let Dennis Rodman be – for now. I am sure he will be releived!

I read, Romans 4:20, “He (Abraham) staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” along with Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith it is impossible to please God for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

What were the staggering promises of God to Abraham? Even though Abraham and Sarah were well past the childbearing years Abraham would have a son and be the father of many nations. Not only that, God was going to give him the land as far as he could see. He was to “walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you.” (Genesis 13:17) Abraham was a nomad – wandering in the desert – he had no home to call his own much less a whole land with descendants. That ranks as a staggering promise! Unbelievable. But Abraham did not stagger. He believed God. Not only believed Him but gave glory – perhaps believing God is the best way to give Him glory. Why did Abraham believe? He had experience with God. He talked to God. There was a track record with God and Abraham.

While Abraham did not live to see the complete fulfillment of that promise, Abraham saw the beginning of it. We are still seeing the fulfillment of that staggering promise as we look at Israel today. (I know the Muslims descend from Abraham, too, through Ishmael.)

God personally established a covenant with Abraham. God does not forget or break His covenants. He does what He says He will do.

Even though the promise was real, Abraham’s descendants had to battle for every scrap of land, every city, every town, every village, every well, every pasture, every square inch. It was a struggle. It still is for them. Has any nation been so hated? Has any people been so persecuted? It is a struggle. The history of Israel and her people is a staggering history full of struggle and miracles.

It took determination. Will. Strategy. They didn’t get a free ride on that promise.

Matthew 11:12 says, “The kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (KJV) We don’t drift into God’s promises. We are to be believing, intentional, committed, diligent. This isn’t stuff for sissies!

What is God’s promise for you this year? Are you prepared for Him to fulfill that promise in and through you? Are you willing to fight for it? Will you claim it and hang on? Does that scare you? That’s OK. I am sure Abraham had his moments…but Abraham never quit – never gave up. Oh, he came close: passing Sarah off as his sister twice and using Hagar as a surrogate. But God was bigger than all of Abraham’s efforts. God never went off course.

That should encourage us. God’s plans are never thwarted. His purpose keeps marching on through history…what an exciting history it is! Let’s hang on to the promises – regardless of what you are having to endure – stay in His Word, keep telling God how you feel. Talk honestly with Him. He is not afraid of your frustration with Him or your anger or your questions. Let Him hear it all. He invites us to be honest. He is bigger – so much bigger then anything we can throw at Him. And He loves us. God will see you through to the other side. He is faithful.

Let us be faithful and not stagger.

, , , , , , , , ,

Now What?

The baby was born. “The angels had gone away from them into heaven…and the shepherds went back…” (The 3 wise mean were yet to come.) Now what? Life would never be the same…but what would it be like? The baby needed to be cared for by a very young and, inexperienced (maybe she had taken care of younger siblings) girl. People were milling about the town due to the census – it was still crowded – they had to register themselves! They needed to find better accommodations – the stable was good during the emergency last night but it was no long-term solution.

Last night was magical but life’s realities closed in on them quickly.

Has real life crashed in on you this morning? The bills arrived in the mail today. The house is a wreck. The refrigerator is beyond messy. The kids are back to quarreling. You and your spouse have fought… You are disappointed with what you received or didn’t receive… Or maybe the house is just as quiet and lonely today as it was yesterday. Nothing changed.

How did Mary and Joseph do it? obviously, an angel told them what was to happen but we aren’t told if he gave specific instructions or for how long it would be… There was uncertainty – a lot of it. But I think it might help if an angel told me something. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t had an angel show up recently! That is not the issue. The issue for them was settled months before when they believed the first angel’s words. They decided to trust God. Period.

And that is where we must place ourselves today… deciding to trust God for the now and the unknown. He says He will never leave us or forsake us – He walks into our unknowns with us. He promises to provide for us out of His own storehouse – maybe not as we envisioned or planned but He will do it faithfully. He promises us His peace when all else is in chaos – draw closer to Him by trusting, depending on Him. And when things don’t go as planned or you are left with many more questions, choose to praise Him anyway. Praise Him in the circumstance.How? Praise Him for who He is and what He has already done for you.

, , , , ,

In Over Our Heads

We are in a mess. In a pickle. In Washington. Unfortunately it is a dangerous one – our politicians are skating very close to the edge. We are in over our heads and sinking fast.

A storm is brewing. How will we handle it? Does God even care at this point?

I wrote about Jesus sending the crowds away. We need to send all that crowds and complicates our lives away: worries, tensions, demands, fears, guilt, shame…you name it. These things crowd our hearts and can paralyze us.

But what happened after Jesus sent the crowds away? He sent the disciples ahead of Him to the other side of the lake. He needed the alone time to pray. His cousin John had just been beheaded no doubt He was grieving. Jesus wanted to spend time with His Father. The disciples were experienced fishermen – very familiar with The Sea of Galilee. It was an unpredictable sea: “storms result from differences in temperatures between the seacoast and the mountains beyond. The Sea of Galilee lies 680 feet below sea level. It is bounded by hills, especially on the east side where they reach 2000 feet high. These heights are a source of cool, dry air.

In contrast, directly around the sea, the climate is semi-tropical with warm, moist air. The large difference in height between surrounding land and the sea causes large temperature and pressure changes. This results in strong winds dropping to the sea, funneling through the hills.”

One such storm blew up that day. The boat with the disciples was already far from shore and was “buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.” No doubt they were doing all they could to manage this bucking boat. Trying to man the oars, baling water, shouting at each other, frightened. Wondering, “Where is Jesus? We could use another hand here.”

The Bible tells us just before dawn, perhaps the sky was turning pink on the edges, Jesus went out to them, walking on the water. He knew exactly where they were, even if they didn’t. He knew what was going on. They saw this figure coming towards them and were frightened. They thought he was a ghost! On top of being afraid of the storm and worn out from the struggle against the waves, now they were terrified. Have you noticed how when you are tired, things seem much worse?

Jesus immediately speaks to them to calm their fears.

Peter, being Peter, asks the Lord to tell him to come to Him on the water. Sort of an interesting request, don’t you think? I am quite sure I would prefer the safety of the rocking boat. Peter wanted more of the Lord. Jesus tells Peter to “Come” and Peter got out of the boat onto the water and went toward Jesus. He was headed in the right direction. But he took his eyes off Jesus and in his humanness, the wind – loud, like a train roaring by – the the scripture says he “saw” the wind. We can’t see wind – just the results of what it does. Peter saw the waves, the whitecaps, the bobbing boat he just left.) His fear kicked in, he panicked and began to sink. Uh oh!

In those few seconds did he say to himself, “I was so stupid, what was I thinking? Why didn’t I stay in the boat? I could be safe. Now I am going to drown.” He hollers, “Lord save me.” Jesus simply, calmly reached out and caught him. Jesus asks why Peter doubted and why he had so little faith. The fear Peter experienced, the panic, obliterated his faith. It does the same to us, too.

Then I find it interesting that the Bible tells us, “They climbed into the boat.” Both of them. It was then the wind abated. So they climbed into the rocking boat – that is not easy! Can you see the Son of God, God Himself in human form, grabbing the edge of that boat and hauling Himself in – soggy clothes and all. Jesus was with Peter helping him, being there for him. Even in Peter’s fear. Sogginess. Doubts. Panic.

I am sure over the camp fire that night they must have laughed at themselves. And told the story many times over – the other disciples ribbing Peter.

The point is that Jesus is there for us…in our fears, worries, panic but when we give into them they will hinder our faith. Jesus takes note that as we obey Him we are headed in the right direction. He wants to grow, strengthen, our faith. And He will rescue us.

So when the storm comes, don’t panic. Keep your focus on Him. He has it all under control. Use the scripture to “take every thought captive” so we will not be defeated.

A national storm is coming. Where will your focus be?