WALKING ON THE WAVES
Have you ever tried walking on water? Most of us have thought about it at least once in our lives! Scientifically we know it’s an impossibility because our bodies are denser than water molecules. At least, that’s the simple explanation. The only time I was ever successful at this was when there was a thick layer of ice between me and the stream!
Much of my life has been spent on, in, or around water. My family had a cabin on a lake in Michigan, so we learned to swim and waterski at a young age. While that is technically “on” the water, it isn’t exactly walking on it! I’ve spent a great deal of time in boats on lakes, rivers, and oceans, but I’ve never yet seen anyone come walking on the water towards us!
While crossing the Sea of Galilee one night, Jesus’ small group of disciples saw Him come to them walking on the water. Let’s set the scene for how this happened. Jesus had just finished preaching and feeding the 5,000 (a miracle that validated His claim to being the Son of God). He sent the disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee ahead of him in a small boat. Meanwhile, he went up on a mountain alone to pray. During the night, we can imagine that Jesus looked down on the sea and saw a storm brewing. He also saw that the disciples were in the middle of the sea with waves caused by the storm threatening to capsize their boat. They were, of course, extremely frightened…so He went to them. But His appearance walking on the water only served to terrify them more, since they didn’t recognize Him and supposed Him to be a ghost!
When He told them not to be afraid, Peter – in his most Peter-like style – said, “If you’re truly who you say you are, tell me to come walking to you!” Jesus bid him come, and Peter jumped out of the boat to go to him. About 30 seconds later, Peter looked at the next incoming wave and thought to himself, “What in the world am I doing out here on the water?!” You probably know the rest of the story, but in the off chance that you don’t, just google it!
Have you ever heard a grown man scream like a little girl? That was Peter when he realized he was in the middle of the sea with no boat under him!! In the four years I’ve been a widow, I’ve often felt like I was in a small boat being pummeled by wave after wave with no calm in sight. Sometimes we may even sight a giant tsunami building off in the distance. Let’s take a minute to examine some wonderful truths that we can take away from this story of fear, courage, faith, doubt, and a cry for help and a calming restoration.
The first thing we see here is Jesus making time alone with the Father a priority. He took the time to pray and to fellowship with the Father, to restore His strength physically and spiritually, to replenish what the ministry drew out of Him. The events and decisions of our daily lives can easily sap our strength, leaving us to face the storm with fear and doubt that we will survive. It is of the utmost importance that we have ourselves fortified by time for prayer and reading the Scriptures. Even Jesus needed that!
The second thing we see is that when the storm was raging all around them, the disciples did not recognize Jesus coming to them. When the waves of life keep coming from every direction, look for Jesus walking to you in the middle of it. You may not recognize Him in the middle of the storm at first, but if you look, you’ll see Him.
Keeping our focus on Him regardless of what happens around us will keep us walking on top of those waves. It’s only when we look away and turn our eyes downward to the waves that we begin to question what we’re doing. That’s when we begin to sink.
But notice! Even after a lapse of faith, Peter cried out for help and once again took the Lord’s hand. The two of them walked back and climbed into the boat. Restoration is key! We may have those moments when we doubt God’s plan or His goodness in our lives, but that’s when it’s so important to turn our eyes back to Him and let Him restore our faith.
When Jesus climbed into the boat, the storm miraculously turned to a calm sea. They crossed to the other side and wondered at all that had happened. Only Jesus can speak peace to our hearts in the middle of the storms that come. The hurricane that hit each of us was the death of our spouse. Since then, there have been many smaller storms that we have had to face…alone.
Whatever you may be facing today – financial crisis, health issues, family or relational problems – Jesus can bring peace to the tempest. Take time to listen for Him, recognize Him in the middle of the storm, keep your focus, get back up when you fall, and let Him speak peace in the deep places no one else can touch.
Isaiah 43:2 — “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.” NASB
Hebrews 13:6 – “for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!”
Until next time, keep walking above those waves and holding onto Jesus’ hand! Your comments and feedback are welcome. Please share with other widows/friends or email me at Sheryl@freshhope.us