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A Cloud Rising

Matthew 14:29 – Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.  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?”

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I live on the lake and it’s a beautiful and serene place to be on a calm, sunny summer’s day when there’s not a cloud in the sky, but today it is anything but calm and serene.  As I look out at it today, the same waters that usually evoke a sense of serenity in me,  now evoke a sense of fear in me.  As I watch the tumultuous waters, I am reminded of how  the beauty of the world we live in coincides with the danger of it. What brings us pleasure one day can bring us pain the next.  Storms are a part of life.  I think this is what Jesus was trying to teach his disciples, as well as us, when he made them get into a boat without him and, “go on ahead of him to the other side.”  The sea was calm when they first got into the boat, not a cloud in sight, but a storm was on the way.   I think Jesus knew perfectly well that storm was coming and that his disciples were going to be caught in it, but he had a lesson he needed to teach, and a truth he knew we all needed to know.  So, the Lord of the winds and the waves and the sea used them that day to serve his purpose.  He still does today.

We don’t like storms, they frighten us.  Unfortunately we are going to encounter them in life and it’s best to be prepared for them when we do.  The storms we are witnessing today can attest to the value of preparation.   Oswald Chambers (My Utmost For His Highest) writes, “We presume that we would be ready for battle if confronted with a great crisis, but it is not the crisis that builds something within us – it simply reveals what we are made of already.  Crises always reveal a person’s true character.”  Storms have a way of revealing what we are made of, and what we are made of, in regards to our faith, is the result of preparation before the storm comes.  Regardless of whether we realize it or not,  we are all rowing together in the boat of life,  headed somewhere to the other side.  Storms are going to come into our lives on the way and they’re going to cause us to fear.   The more prepared we are, the better we will be able to deal with them.  All the disciples in the boat feared the storm, even Peter.  We all fear the storms of life.  The difference between Peter’s reaction during the storm and the others, was his focus.  The other disciples focused on the storm and were paralyzed by their fear of it.  Peter focused on Jesus and overcame his fear of it.  All the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water.  They all believed he was the Messiah, but only Peter trusted him enough to get out of the boat.  Only Peter had faith to believe that whatever Jesus called him to do, he would enable him to do.  Peter’s faith in who Jesus was overrode his fear of the storm and enabled him to walk above it, rather than being taken under by it.  One thing is for certain, if we stay cowered in the boat, paralyzed by fear, we’ll never realize the power we have in him over the storm.  We will never know what it feels like to walk on water as Peter did.  While we may never actually walk on water, we can walk upon the storms in life that threaten to drown us in fear.  Whatever storm he allows us to encounter in life, if we will put our focus on him instead of the storm, he will enable us to overcome the storm, rather than the storm overcoming us.

Sometimes, even when we step out of the boat in faith, the winds and the waves of the storm are just too overwhelming of a distraction to us, and can cause us to momentarily falter in our faith.  Scripture says, “But when he (Peter) saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (29).   Sometimes, like the other disciples, we are paralyzed by our fear, cowering down before it, and sometimes, like Peter, even after stepping out of the boat, our fear causes us to temporarily falter in our faith.  Either way, when it comes right down to it, the storms of life are sometimes just too much for us to handle and Jesus knows this.  Wherever we are in our faith, fortunately for  us, when that happens, we, like Peter, have but to cry out, “Lord, save me!”  Even though Jesus wonders at our doubt saying, “Oh ye of little faith, why did you doubt?” he understands and knows that sometimes, because of the intensity of the storm, we are going to falter.  Jesus knew that the storm would prove to be more than Peter’s faith could handle, but Peter’s faltering of faith in Jesus did not prevent Jesus’ faithfulness to Peter.  “Immediately, he put out his hand and caught him.” (31).  Nothing pleases Jesus more than our faith in him during the storms of life.  He loves water-walking faith.  But I believe what he loves most of all, when our faith falters, is hearing his child call out to him in simple dependent faith, “Lord, save me!”  I don’t think anything gets his immediate attention quite as much as hearing those words spoken from our lips.  I’ve read this scripture several times and always understood it to be a lesson about doubt due to lack of faith.  Even though that is partially correct, I completely missed the most important part of the lesson, which was his faithfulness to me.  Even when our faith falters, he remains faithful to us.

Storms are fearful.  We see the wind and waves and know their potential to harm us.  We see the devastation they leave in their wake all around us and our hearts can’t help but fear, and sometimes our faith can’t help but falter.  But as long as we reach out to him and cry out, “Lord, save me!” he is faithful to deliver us through the storms of life and to get us safely to the other side.  I do believe the lesson of the day is preparation.  There’s a cloud rising and we all need to be prepared for it.  I can’t help but see the relation between the ability of man to track all these storms today and Jesus words to us in Luke 12:54 – “”He said to the crowd:  “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, “It’s going to rain,’ and it does.  And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.  Hypocrites!  You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky.  How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?”  Though the people Jesus was talking to were skilled at interpreting weather signs, they ignored the signs of the time.  When observing all that is happening in our world today, I can’t help but wonder if he might be saying the same thing to us as well.  If so, we better be prepared to have some water-walking faith but if not, just cry out, “Lord, save me!”

WALK UPON YOUR FEARS

One day while rowing in my boat to reach the other side
the dark clouds of a storm appeared and the waves began to rise
The winds began to blow most fierce, the sky turned dark and drear
I began to row with all my might as my heart was gripped with fear

I saw the waves their billows high, I heard their crashing sound
I saw the blackness of the night, its darkness all around
I rowed and rowed with all my might but seemed to get nowhere
I heard a voice say, “You’re doomed, you haven’t got a prayer.”

And then above my head arose a huge and monstrous wave
But while cowering down upon my knees I heard another voice say, 
“Hush my child, peace be still, you need not fear the wind”
“The storm that threatens you the most is the one which blows within”

“And it is not true,” He gently spoke, “that you do not have a prayer”
“For that is the one thing that you have and I am with you there”
“Come to me and take my hand and do not look away”
“Pay no attention to the wind or to the towering waves”

“In my presence you are safe though the waves may crash and beat”
“For all that towers over you is underneath my feet”
“So do not be moved by what you see nor swayed by what you hear”
“Just join your hand to mine in prayer and walk upon your fears.”

(“But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord save me!”)

 

 

One Comment Post a comment
  1. debbywinship #

    I love this ! I have gotten off of all social media ( long story), but will continue to share your wisdom. Love you!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    September 11, 2017

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