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?
Please also pray for Montreat College. The Bd of Trustees are determined to merge with Point University which dissolve Montreat and take over all assets. Though both are considered Christian our beliefs for bringing students to Christ are different. We need your prayers. Joan Ross.
How right you are Ruth , this whole world is in a mess right now,
and how easy it is to take our eyes off the Saviour and look around
us at all the chaos happening .We tend to forget that the Lord , creator of the
universe has not lost sight of those who love Him, but truly cares for every
single one of His sheep, if only we could fully trust His mighty power ,then we would know the peace and calm His presence brings. Thank you Ruth.
So much is going on in the world, I couldn’t imagine going through it all without God. i have been in the middle of that storm and that is when I turned to the Lord. I was eighteen when my second born son passed away, i had cancer and my first born son (who had Downs syndrome) was going for open heart surgery, God saved me from myself. this world needs to put God back where he belongs (every where) and give people back someone other then themselves to believe in. Thank you Ruth for saying what needs to be said. I am writing from my phone so plrase forgive my writing. God bless